The Government is piloting the sale of excess PPE it purchased during the Covid pandemic via ‘auction’, it has announced.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) today said the surplus stock for sale includes visors, gowns, aprons and goggles.
The pilot will ‘[open] the sale of excess PPE to the market’, alongside ‘international and domestic donations and recycling’, it added.
The DHSC said: ‘Over the course of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the UK Government has delivered more than 19.1 billion items of personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect frontline health and care staff.
‘As we move into the next phase of managing Covid-19 in England, following the vaccine roll-out, we are now looking at ways to reduce the levels of stock of PPE where we have an excess quantity.’
It added: ‘DHSC is piloting the sale of surplus PPE through our approved auction site.’
The measures aim to reduce ‘expired excess stock through the waste management hierarchy’, as well as ‘the costs to the taxpayer in storing excess stock’, DHSC said.
Sales will be subject to terms and conditions and ‘minimum order levels – as specified by DHSC at the point of contact’.
Earlier this week, a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) revealed that more than 10% of Covid PPE procured by the Government is ‘not suitable’ for frontline services.
And it said the DHSC has an estimated ‘3.9 billion more PPE items than it needs’, representing around 10% of the PPE it purchased during the pandemic.
The report revealed that the DHSC is ‘trying to dispose of’ 305 million of these items through sales, 253 million items through donations to other parts of the public sector and 232 million items through ‘recycling’.
It follows a litany of fiascos with official PPE provided to practices, including GPs being sent expired face masks, ‘used’ gloves, gowns that did ‘not meet’ fluid resistance standards and aprons made from ‘repurposed bin bags’.