In response to the pandemic, the government of the UK had spent millions purchasing ventilators, which remain unused due to lack of demand in NHS hospitals.
About 20,900 ventilators costing £569 million were purchased by the government in an effort to save people`s lives during the coronavirus pandemic. Only a few of these were used by the National Health Service (NHS) hospitals because of the lack of demand.
The Ministry of Defence warehouse currently holds 2,150 unused ventilators, just in case they are needed in the coming second wave of the pandemic.
It has been discovered that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Cabinet Office contributed more towards the purchase of these machines.
In a report on Wednesday, Whitehall`s spending watchdog said: “The government acted with urgency to increase the number of ventilators available to the NHS. It prioritised speed over cost and spent a total of £569m. So far, most of these ventilators have not been needed.”
The aim of the UK ministers to purchase of thousands of mechanical ventilators was a good motive considering how risky the virus is. The National Audit Office (NAO)`s investigation concluded that the government had achieved its goal to buy as many of these machines as possible.
However, some of the ventilators bought were of low quality and doctors said they were not suitable for patients in intensive care. The intense global demand meant that DHSC had to pay some of its suppliers upfront to get extra machines without assurance that they would be suitable.
DHSC spent £2,2 million on the acquisition of 750 transport ventilators which were of poor quality and were never used. NAO said: “In the event, the new ventilators were not needed at the April peak because demand was considerably lower than the reasonable worst-case scenario.
“DHSC and NHS England and NHS Improvement are not aware of any point when a patient who needed a ventilator was unable to get one,” the NAO added.