In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department for Health and Social Care (The Department) began an unprecedented programme of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) procurement buying items such as gowns, gloves and masks. It eventually purchased 37.9 billion items at a cost of just over £13 billion. Two years on from that initial procurement activity the Department is still having to manage many of the contracts that it signed. It has now received nearly all of the PPE that it ordered but it is in dispute with many suppliers over the quality of the PPE that has been supplied and is also looking at whether fraud was committed on certain contracts. Much of the PPE still resides in storage locations, both around the UK and in China, and the Department is looking at options for how it might now dispose of some of the stock that it deems to be excess. Responsibility for management of the PPE programme has now largely been transferred back to Supply Chain Co-ordination Limited, the NHS’s main procurement partner prior to the pandemic. This report makes a series of recommendations.
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