During Sunday’s Downing Street press briefing Dr Jenny Harries hit back at the BBC’s Hugh Pym after he questioned the approach to PPE.
Dr Harries who is the deputy chief medical officer told Pym, “”let’s have an adult conversation about this.”
Pym asked Dr Harries, “Can you comment on the reports today that supplies of PPE were allowed to run down in the couple of years before the pandemic and why was more not done to get hold of more PPE in March and early February?”
Gavin Williams the Education Secretary said at the briefing there has been an “enormous national effort” to secure personal protective equipment (PPE).
He added, “But you know, the government, from the first moment that we were in a situation where the scientific advice was highlighting to us that we were facing a real challenge in terms of coronavirus, and this could potentially evolve into a pandemic, every resource of government has been deployed to not just expanding what we need in terms of PPE, but also ventilators, and we’ve seen a massive growth in the number of ventilators that we have available in our hospitals.”
Dr Harries said, “So I think we need to step back a little bit and start from the beginning of this which is the UK, regardless of the position that we may be in now, has been an international exemplar in preparedness.
“So, the fact that there is a pandemic influenza stockpile is considered a very high quality mark of a prepared country in international terms.
“What we have had is a huge demand on our supply and I think we have had if I might say from my own professional perspective, we could perhaps have a more adult and more detailed conversation about PPE supplies.”
Adding, “It is important to remember that although there may be elements of distribution problems across the UK at different times and at different places this is a huge pull on services which we have never seen before.
“We have managed actually despite signalling many potential shortfalls to continue to supply going forward.”
The UK government sent over 270,000 pieces of PPE to China in February to help the country tackle coronavirus, the UK having depleted resources, The Sunday Times reported.
Michael Gove was asked whether this statement was true, he said, “We did send protective equipment to China.
“But I think it’s important to stress two things there as well.
“The first thing is that the personal protection equipment that we sent to China was to help with the most extreme outbreak in Wuhan.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock is facing an urgent emergency within the NHS.
It was reported on Sunday that a shipment of personal protective equipment (PPE) was due to arrive today from Turkey, Sky News understands.
The Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said on Saturday that a shipment is due which will alleviate the pressures doctors and nurses are facing.