Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Science & Tech
  2. Coronavirus
20 April 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

Delayed PPE shipment may not arrive today, government says


By Samuel Horti

An urgent shipment of personal protective equipment (PPE) may be delayed further, the government has said.

The 84-tonne shipment of PPE from Turkey, which includes 400,000 surgical gowns, was due to arrive yesterday, but was delayed, as we covered in our morning briefing. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said this morning that he expected the flight to take off this afternoon, but later rowed back his comments, saying that the government was merely “hopeful” it would arrive today.

“The latest information I have is that we are hopeful that the flight will take place this afternoon. But obviously I want to be very cautious about making promises on this that that can’t be kept,” he said. “There’s some challenges at the Turkish end in terms of getting the relevant paperwork and other related issues but we are very hopeful that later today, we will get that flight from Turkey.”

The chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, said this morning that he has “relatively low confidence” it would arrive today. “Bitter experience over the last few weeks has shown than until a consignment of gowns has actually landed, that the boxes have been checked and the equipment’s been tested, the NHS simply can’t count on the gowns being available at the front line.”

Surgical gowns are the PPE items in shortest supply. Before the weekend, some NHS trusts said they would run out within days. 

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy