50 million face masks bought by the UK for NHS workers – from a company with links to a government adviser – have been recalled because they did not fit properly

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  • Fifty million masks purchased by the UK for the National Health Service are being recalled because the straps are not tight enough.
  • Ayanda Capital supplied the FFP2 respirators as part of a £ 252 million ($ 331 million) deal, signed in April, to provide personal protective equipment.
  • Masks use earrings rather than straps around the head, which may not be tight enough for health workers.
  • The government says it will no longer be used due to concerns about the masks’ lack of “proper attachment”, according to court documents.
  • The deal was arranged by UK government adviser Andrew Mills, who sits on the board of Ayanda Capital.
  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.

Fifty million face masks bought by the UK government for frontline healthcare workers are being recalled because the straps are not tight enough.

The FF2 respirators were supplied to the National Health Service (NHS) by Ayanda Capital as part of a £ 252million ($ 331million) deal, signed in April, to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to health workers, according to court documents.

However, the government said the masks use clips around the ears rather than the head, which means they may not be tight enough, the BBC reported.

The deal was negotiated by Andrew Mills, a businessman and adviser to the UK Department for International Trade, who also sits on the board of Ayanda Capital. Mills told the BBC that his position as an adviser to the government did not play a role in the decision to contract Ayanda Capital.

The government recalled the masks after The Good Law Project, a non-profit legal rights organization, launched a legal challenge over the government’s PPE contracts. The group published the government’s decision on its website on Thursday.

The masks “will not be used in the NHS” because “we wondered if the[y] … Provided an adequate solution, ”the UK government said, according to the draft.

The masks alone are worth between £ 156m and £ 177m ($ 205m and $ 233m), the legal rights group has estimated.

April 15, 2020, Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart: ILLUSTRATION - A young man wears an FFP2 category respirator in a light rail vehicle (posed photo). A requirement to wear a mouth and nose mask in public is being discussed as a possible measure to gradually ease restrictions imposed to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Christoph Schmidt / dpa (Photo by Christoph Schmidt / picture alliance via Getty Images)

A man wearing an FFP2 respirator on a train in Stuttgart, Germany, April 15, 2020.

Christoph Schmidt / alliance de photos via Getty Images

In a legal brief made public by the project on Thursday, Ayanda Capital lawyers said that “the FFP2 masks provided by our client met contractual requirements.”

Ayanda Capital also supplied the NHS with 150 million Type IIR masks, but these have not been recalled.

The Department of Health and Welfare told Business Insider it was unable to comment due to pending lawsuits.

However, a UK government spokesperson told the BBC: ‘A strong process is in place to ensure orders are of high quality and meet strict safety standards, with due diligence required for all government contracts. . ”

In a statement released by the BBC, Ayanda Capital said: “The masks provided have gone through a rigorous technical assurance program and meet all the requirements of the technical specifications that have been posted through the government portal. ”

“There are provisions in our contract for the product to be rejected if it does not meet the specifications required under the contract. These provisions have not been activated. “

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