Coronavirus: the contracts of a conservative PPE advisor are questioned

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Government spent £ 15 billion on protective equipment for medical workers and carers


The government is under pressure to review its personal protective equipment (PPE) contracts after a Conservative adviser received major contracts.

The advisor’s company, P14 Medical, has been awarded contracts to supply face shields totaling £ 120 million.

The Labor Party has said that the government has “serious questions” to answer about the PPE procurement process.

The government has stated that it has a “robust process” to ensure high quality PPE and commercial “due diligence”.

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The government has spent £ 15 billion on PPE since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Treasury statement earlier this week.

Of this amount, details of the PPE contracts worth £ 1.5 billion have been published on the government website.

Third largest contract

In response to the coronavirus crisis, the government has abandoned the tendering process under which contracts are generally awarded.

Instead, it tended to use an emergency procedure, in which contracts are awarded directly to companies without competition.

P14 Medical, based in Stroud, Gloucestershire, has won two contracts worth £ 120 million to supply PPE to the Department of Health and Social Affairs (DHSC).

The agreement was the third largest PPE contract awarded by the DHSC which has been published to date.

Steve Dechan, director of P14 Medical, is a Conservative Councilor for Stroud City Council and campaigned for local MP Siobhan Baillie in the 2019 election.

The company, which specializes in pain management technologies, won the contracts despite losing £ 486,000 in 2019.

He made a profit of £ 21,000 the year before.

‘Iron’

P14 told the Financial Times that the losses were due to heavy investment in the new chronic pain technology it plans to launch in Europe and the Middle East this summer.

He said he had saved the government £ 55 million on his face shield contracts, which had been concluded “in advance and on budget”.

The contracts were awarded directly to the company without a call for tenders.

In an email, Dechan told the BBC: “We have been a medical supply company for eight years, including PPE, which has successfully executed a large contract that” large companies “could not not.

“I only know a few MPs through local campaigns on issues, I only met ministers [general election] country trails. Never discussed PPE. ”

He added, “We are so proud that we stood up and unlike many, we did and protected our customers. ”

Shadow Health Minister of Labor Justin Madders said the contracts awarded to P14 Medical raise questions about transparency.

“At first glance, this company’s ties to the Conservative Party seem to be stronger than their experience in delivering PPE.

“Serious questions must be asked about how they managed to get such a lucrative contract without any balance sheet per se.

“The ministers must adopt full transparency and disclose all the details on the award of these contracts.

“There is more than a sniff of contracts awarded on the basis of who you know, to which the government can only respond by the process they have followed.” “

‘Due diligence’

Questions were also asked about large contracts awarded to other small businesses with limited experience in the supply of PPE.

Activists are asking for a judicial review of the £ 32 million contract award to PestFix Ltd, a Pest Control Company in Sussex.

In a statement, the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs said, “We are working tirelessly to provide PPE to protect people on the front lines during this global pandemic.

“Nearly 28 billion PPE items have been ordered from UK-based manufacturers and international partners to ensure continuous supply over the coming months.

“We have a robust process to ensure that orders are of high quality and meet commercial due diligence. “

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