UK government spent half a billion on COVID-19 ventilators for NHS

Staff at Penlon test ventilators ahead of them being shipped out to the NHS, in Abingdon, England. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA via AP
Staff at Penlon test ventilators ahead of them being shipped out to the NHS, in Abingdon, England. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA via AP

The UK government spent over half a billion pounds buying extra ventilators for the NHS as the COVID-19 pandemic struck, a report has found.

The National Audit Office (NAO) on Wednesday said the Department of Health & Social Care and the Cabinet Office had jointly spent £569m ($727m) buying over 25,000 ventilators since March.

In a largely positive report, the NAO found the government prioritised speed over cost when acquiring ventilators as the pandemic first hit the UK. Despite this, Whitehall still managed to put in place “reasonable” safeguards to ensure money was not wasted and the government has managed to recoup some losses by reselling parts.

“The government acted quickly to secure the thousands of ventilators it thought it may need to safeguard public health,” said Gareth

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