Government plans to burn £4bn worth of PPE ‘costly on environment and Treasury’ – Low Calorie Diets Tips

The Government’s plans to burn £4billion of unusable personal protective equipment (PPE) to generate electricity have been criticized by MPs as potentially costly – both financially and to the environment.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) lost 75% of the £12billion it spent on PPE in the first year of the coronavirus pandemic to overpricing and faulty equipment.

That included £4billion that could not be used because it did not meet NHS standards.

The DHSC has disputed this, stating that not all unusable PPE is incinerated and much of it is used in other settings or recycled.

PAC MPs also raised concerns about “inappropriate” unauthorized payouts from health officials to staff and warned that more of this is likely to happen as the NHS sweeps the scales.

PAC Chair Dame Meg Hillier said the Department of Health had done little to “put its house in order” after wasting “huge amounts” of public money (Martin Rickett/PA).

(PA wire)

During the pandemic, three Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) paid special severance pay without the necessary Treasury Department approval, the committee said.

PAC chair Dame Meg Hillier said the DHSC had done little to “put its house in order” after wasting “huge amounts” of public money.

The Labor MP said: “The story of the PPE purchase is perhaps the most shameful episode in the UK Government’s response to the pandemic.

“At the start of the pandemic, the lack of basic PPE left health and social care workers at risk of risking their own lives and those of their families.

“In a desperate bid to catch up, the government squandered vast sums of money, paying obscenely inflated prices and payments to middlemen in a chaotic rush while abandoning even the most superficial due diligence.

“This has left us with massive public contracts that are now under investigation by the National Crime Agency or are contentious over allegations of modern slavery in the supply chain.



The DHSC has uniquely failed to manage this crisis despite years of clear and well-known risks of a pandemic, and the challenges it now faces are enormous

Dame Meg Hillier, Commons Public Accounts Committee

“Add to this a series of improper, unauthorized severance payments made by clinical contract groups in the first year of the pandemic, and the impression given falls even further from what we expect.

“DHSC has uniquely failed to deal with this crisis, despite years of clear and well-known risks of a pandemic, and the challenges it now faces are enormous, from recovering the NHS to preparing for the next big crisis .

“There’s honestly too little evidence of him fixing his house or knowing how to do it.”

The PAC has asked the DHSC to clarify its plan to dispose of unserviceable and surplus PPE, including the projected cost to the Treasury Department and the environment.

Pat Cullen, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said the PPE burning was an “annoying” reminder that the DHSC’s approach to procurement may have also claimed the lives of nurses.

She said: “Our members will find this upsetting.



If that money had been used wisely and if decent quality PPE had been purchased in the first place, the nurses’ lives might have been saved

Pat Cullen, Royal College of Nursing

“It’s a painful reminder of the worst of the pandemic – inadequate or wasteful PPE.

“Billions of pounds going up in smoke when the NHS and care services are struggling will be difficult for them to understand.

“If that money had been used wisely and if decent quality PPE had been bought in the first place, then perhaps the nurses’ lives could have been saved.

“If we’re really going to learn the lessons, it will be critical that the forthcoming public inquiry establishes the causes and is clear about where mistakes were made so that they are never repeated.”

DHSC officials disputed the PAC’s claim that £4billion of PPE would be burned and said only about 3% of the PPE bought by the ministry – equivalent to around £670million – could not be used because it was for ‘none’ be suitable for the purpose.

They added that excess stock is also being repurposed for use by dentists and donated to charities, transport companies and other countries.



In the face of an unpredictable and dangerous virus, we make no apologies for oversourcing instead of undersourcing, and only 3% of the PPE we sourced was unusable in any context

Department of Health and Welfare

A DHSC spokesman said: “Some of these claims are misleading, including claims that we are incinerating 4 billion pounds of unusable PPE and that there is no clear disposal strategy for surplus PPE.

“In the face of an unpredictable and dangerous virus, we make no apologies for sourcing too much PPE instead of too little, and only 3% of the PPE we sourced was unusable in any context.

“At the height of the pandemic, there was unprecedented global demand for PPE and massive inflation in PPE prices.

“But despite these global challenges, we have shipped over 19.8 billion items of PPE to frontline workers to keep them safe.

“Now we are confident that we have sufficient PPE to cover any future Covid requirements. We are taking decisive action and have reduced inventory costs by 82% since October 2020.”

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