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Fury as government destroys £1.4bn of PPE that could have gone to frontline staff

A STAGGERING £1.4 billion worth of PPE has been destroyed or written off by the government in what is thought to be its most wasteful deal of the pandemic.

BBC figures revealed that at least 1.57 billion items provided by Northamptonshire-based Full Support Healthcare will never be used, despite being manufactured to the proper standard.

Campaigners said yesterday that the “grossly negligent and unforgivable” waste and profiteering around contracts led to the deaths of hundreds of NHS and care staff who were given useless PPE.

Keep Our NHS Public co-chairman Dr Tony O’Sullivan said the taxpayer “deserves far, far better” but “even more pressing is what happened as a direct result of these woeful actions.

“Far too many people died. NHS and care staff, unprotected, in their hundreds due to useless PPE.

“Money can be repaid, but these people; partners, parents, sons and daughters are gone forever, and where's the punishment for that?”

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said the “staggering” sum was the worst example of wastage during the pandemic he had seen and could have paid the salaries of 37,000 nurses, calling for a “full and frank account as to how so much public money was thrown down the toilet.”

The Department for Health and Social Care, which was responsible for purchasing and delivering Covid PPE, said it could not comment due to the pre-election period.

Full Support Healthcare agreed a £1.78bn deal to deliver face masks, respirators, eye protection and aprons — the largest Covid PPE order from a single supplier — in April 2020.

It reported annual profits of £800,000 until 2021, when co-directors Sarah Stoute, 50, and her husband Richard, 53, moved its business offshore in Jersey. 

There is no suggestion of Full Support Healthcare nor the Stoutes having done anything improper.

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