The NHS now has 30,000 ventilators that may assist individuals breathe if they’re very unwell with coronavirus.
That is about one for each 2,200 individuals within the UK – many greater than are prone to be wanted this winter.
Hospitals in England had 7,400 of the machines firstly of the pandemic, a report reveals. And the federal government spent £569m to safe extra.
The National Audit Office says ministers prioritised velocity over value however used taxpayers’ cash responsibly.
Currently, there are 2,049 coronavirus sufferers in hospital within the UK.
And 297 of these are on ventilators.
When coronavirus first struck UK shores, consultants estimated the NHS might be overwhelmed with Covid-19 sufferers and would want 90,000 beds with ventilators to manage.
In response, the federal government set about shopping for up as many machines as doable.
And it inspired UK producers to make new ones, launching its Ventilator Challenge.
The estimate of ventilators wanted was later revised down – to 17,500 in England.
But the federal government had already signed contracts with suppliers and paid cash up entrance, the NAO report says.
Although, about £36.3m of this cash has been recovered by cancelling orders and promoting parts introduced in preparation for manufacture again into the broader provide chain.
The report additionally says:
- The authorities confronted rising competitors shopping for ventilators on the world market and often needed to pay up entrance, and in some instances greater than typical market charges, accepting the chance merchandise could also be unsuitable
- In one such case, 750 ventilators, purchased for about £2.2m, had been withdrawn from use following suggestions from clinicians
- Established NHS suppliers had been paid a median of £20,000 for every of the two,200 new intensive care unit mechanical ventilators, whereas one other 5,900 had been purchased from new suppliers for about £30,100 apiece
- The Cabinet Office sought assurance over suppliers’ prices, with enter from the Ministry of Defence’s Cost Assurance and Analysis Service
At the spring peak of coronavirus, 6,818 of 10,900 ventilators accessible throughout the UK had been getting used to deal with sufferers in England.
And by 16 September, about 2,150 of the additional ventilators purchased or constructed had been distributed to NHS trusts.
The the rest are in storage in warehouses, together with a facility in Donnington owned by the Ministry of Defence.
The authorities has additionally purchased 17,800 different, non-invasive oxygen remedy units for the NHS, comparable to steady optimistic airway strain machines.
Labour MP Meg Hillier, who chairs the Public Accounts Committee, mentioned the federal government had been “quick off the blocks” to extend the variety of ventilators within the NHS.
“We were lucky the worst-case scenario didn’t come to pass before the extra ventilators had arrived,” she mentioned.
“However, the NHS is now much better prepared for whatever happens next.
“The Department of Health and Social Care and the Cabinet Office have proven it is doable to work at tempo and get outcomes with out writing a clean cheque.
“In this case, they kept the chancers at arm’s length and have set a benchmark for procurement during the pandemic.”
Prof Derek Hill, an professional in medical units from University College London, mentioned: “In normal times, more than £500m spent on unused medical equipment would be seen as a massive waste of tax payer money, but in the context of Covid, and risk mitigation, the National Audit Office is not critical of the programme.”
A authorities spokeswoman mentioned: “The NHS now has access to over 30,000 mechanical and 15,000 non-invasive ventilators. This is more than three times as many as it had at the start of the pandemic so we are well prepared to meet any future need.”