Safety concerns have been raised over fifty million face masks which had been supplied to the National Health Service (NHS).
The government has acknowledged that NHS staff cannot use these masks as they had been acquired from an unreliable supplier. The FFP2 masks supplied by Ayanda Capital have ear loops instead of head loops, hence they might not be secure enough.
The government paid £252 million to acquire the personal protective equipment (PPE). It`s now being sued over the decision it made to award the private family fund the contract by EveryDoctor and Good Law Project.
It had been revealed that Andrew Mills, an adviser to the Board of Trade in the Department for International Trade organised the deal on behalf of Tim Horlick, CEO of Ayanda Capital.
Mr Mills was a business associate and had been asked to assist the firm “given his relationship with the Department for International Trade and his experience in international business and sales”, Mr Horlick said.
The government argued that “appropriate due diligence” was undertaken on Ayanda Capital and the Chinese factories it used to manufacture the PPE, and “the company’s track record indicated it would be capable of fulfilling a large order of medical masks”.
Julia Patterson, founder of EveryDoctor, said: “It is horrifying that during the worst crisis in the NHS’ history, the government entrusted large sums of public money in the hands of companies with no experience in producing safe PPE for healthcare workers.
“I run a network of 25,000 UK doctors. Many were fearful for their lives between March and June… We cannot allow bad decision-making to jeopardise the lives of healthcare workers and the public. The government must be answerable to their decisions regarding these PPE contracts.”
A government spokesperson said that throughout the global crisis, the government of the UK had been making efforts to acquire “high quality” PPE which meets “the needs of health and social care staff both now and in the future”.