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Nearly five billion items of NHS personal protective equipment worth £2.7billion will go to waste, a minister has admitted.

Health minister Edward Argar revealed more than 36.4 billion items were ordered by the Government’s PPE programme since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. 

He said: ‘Of this, approximately 3.4billion units are currently identified as potential excess stock. The estimated price for those items is £2.2billion.’

Of the 36.4 billion items ordered, 6.96 billion of them ‘are not currently provided to frontline services’, he said. 

‘Of these, 1.2 billion items are deemed to be not fit for use. The purchase price for these items was £458million.’

Health minister Edward Argar (pictured) revealed more than 36.4 billion items were ordered by the Government’s PPE programme since the start of the pandemic in March 2020

Health minister Edward Argar (pictured) revealed more than 36.4 billion items were ordered by the Government’s PPE programme since the start of the pandemic in March 2020

Health minister Edward Argar (pictured) revealed more than 36.4 billion items were ordered by the Government’s PPE programme since the start of the pandemic in March 2020

Mr Argar was replying to a question from Liberal Democrats chief whip and MP for North East Fife Wendy Chamberlain regarding PPE wastage. 

The Liberal Democrats labelled the Government’s use of public funds as ‘extreme negligence on an industrial scale’.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson told The Guardian there were ‘a range of measures’ for surplus PPE, such as selling and recycling, as well as ‘plans to extend shelf life where appropriate’. 

Mr Argar was replying to a question from Liberal Democrats chief whip and MP for North East Fife Wendy Chamberlain (pictured) regarding PPE wastage

Mr Argar was replying to a question from Liberal Democrats chief whip and MP for North East Fife Wendy Chamberlain (pictured) regarding PPE wastage

Mr Argar was replying to a question from Liberal Democrats chief whip and MP for North East Fife Wendy Chamberlain (pictured) regarding PPE wastage

He said: A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson told the Guardian: ‘We have been working tirelessly to deliver PPE to protect our health and social care staff on the frontline, with over 17.5 billion PPE items delivered so far.

‘Where we have surplus stock of PPE, we have a range of measures we can take, including sales, donations, reuse and recycling or recovering costs from the supplier.

‘In addition, we are working on plans to extend shelf life where appropriate.’

Mrs Chamberlain had said the waste of £2.7billion was another ‘string of damning failures’ for the government as it is ‘burning a hole in the pocket of the taxpayer’.

She added: ‘The government has misspent billions of pounds of public money on vital PPE for frontline staff that is either inadequate or will never be used. This is carelessness of the highest magnitude.’

Source: Daily Mail

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