This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

pulse june2020 80x101px
Read the latest issue online

GPs go forth

GPs being sent 'out-of-date' face masks with 'concealed' best before dates

EXCLUSIVE Some GP practices have been supplied with expired face masks that have concealed ‘best before’ stickers to fight the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, Pulse has learnt.

Pulse revealed earlier this month that NHS England would provide practices with personal protective equipment (PPE) including 300 fluid repellent masks, 400 aprons and 300 pairs of gloves.

It has emerged that around 20 regions have received batches of face masks with a 2016 expiry date hidden by a ‘2021’ sticker.

Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire LMCs CEO Dr Matt Mayer told Pulse: ’We are hearing from practices all over our area that the PPE being sent to them is inadequate. To now find that it is not just out of date, but that the expired date has apparently been deliberately concealed is staggering.

’GPs are already being put at risk by inadequate PPE. This just further suggests that the Government regard us as expendable.

‘We demand a full investigation into this matter immediately by the Department of Health and expect criminal charges to be brought if this is found to have been deliberate.’

Pulse approached the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England for comment. 

A recent Pulse survey revealed that two out of five GPs have still not received any PPE against coronavirus.

img 20200316 wa0005

Face mask

Areas so far reported to have received expired face masks include:

- Berkshire

- Buckinghamshire

- Oxfordshire

- Bath and North East Somerset

- Bristol

- Kent

- Lincolnshire

- Merseyside

- South Cumbria

- West Yorkshire

- North-East Yorkshire

- Nottinghamshire 

- West Midlands 

- County Durham

- Cambridgeshire 

- London 

- Newcastle

- Manchester

- Hampshire

- Devon

- Glasgow

More to follow

Readers' comments (62)

  • Probably the date of manufacture is not very relevant to the efficacy of this type of PPE, so long as it has been stored in suitable conditions. Obviously, it might have been better to say this up-front, instead of after complaints were made.
    More troubling, is the assertion by the CE of NHS Providers, C. Hopson, on national television, that the NHS had adequate stocks of PPE, but 'distribution had been lumpy' i.e. many people had not received any. Requiring person to work in dangerous environments without providing suitable PPE, correct fitting, and training in its use would breach the Health& Safety at Work, Act, and the period of notice for the PPE to be needed was sufficient that they ought reasonably have complied with those requirements. Hopefully, prosecutions by the HSE will ensue, but don't hold your breath. (Or do, if you have no mask!)
    If managers shared the attitude of staff facing infected patients, they would have been fetching the stuff from depots themselves, not getting lorries sent round by night two days after the complaints.
    Are we all in this together?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment


    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 results per page20 results per page50 results per page

Have your say