Billions lost in PPE chaos, fraud and bungled loans

While the NHS has to badger and campaign to secure even a £20bn down payment on the costs of reconstruction after more than a decade of decline and falling real terms funding, evidence keeps emerging of the cavalier way in which ministers have squandered huge sums, especially during the Covid pandemic. 

The Department of Health’s own Annual Report and Accounts for 2020-21 include a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General to the House of Commons which sets out a tale of incompetence and neglect in the handling of £12.1 billion worth of contracts for PPE that led to an estimated loss in value of £8.7 billion – 72% of the total spend. This includes: 

“£0.67 billion of PPE which cannot be used, for instance because it is defective;  

“£2.6 billion of PPE which is not suitable for use within the health and social care sector but which the Department considers might be suitable for other uses (although these potential other uses are as yet uncertain);  

Full story in The Lowdown, 7 February 2022

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