Government got rid of more than three billion items of PPE bought during pandemic

The Government has shed more than three billion items of personal protective equipment (PPE) it bought during the pandemic, figures have shown.

Data from the Department of Health and Social Care showed that up to February 28, some 269,500 pallets of PPE have been removed from its stock.

This equates to 3.14 billion items disposed of through a mixture of recycling, energy from waste processes (including some incineration), donations and sales.

Some 19,600 pallets were recycled (1.47 billion items) while 131,900 pallets were sent to make energy from waste (1.40 billion items), a document showed.

Some 6,100 pallets of PPE were donated to other countries and for events such as the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The Government has repeatedly faced criticism over its handling of PPE during the pandemic, including the purchase of useless items.

Last year, the Commons Public Accounts Committee said the Government had lost 75% of the £12 billion it spent on PPE in the first year of the pandemic to inflated prices and kit that did not meet requirements – including £4 billion of PPE that could not be used in the NHS.

The Government announced in December it was suing one firm that supplied it with PPE for £122 million plus costs.

PPE Medpro won contracts after being recommended by Tory peer Baroness Mone. She denies any wrongdoing.

The Government is attempting to get its money back on one of the deals in the High Court, claiming the medical gowns supplied “did not comply with the specification in the contract”.

PPE Medpro has said it would rigorously defend the claim.

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