NHS boss slams profiteering company for 825 per cent PPE price hike

NHS hospital boss slams private company for outrageous profiteering after being offered £2 protective gowns for £16.50 each – 825 PER CENT the normal price

  • Nick Hulme looked to alternative sources to increase his NHS trust’s PPE stock 
  • The East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust has enough PPE for now
  •  Ipswich MP Tom Hunt described the ‘outrageous’ price hike as disgraceful
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

An NHS trust chief executive has accused a company of profiteering from the coronavirus pandemic after he was offered the chance to buy PPE at 825 per cent the normal price.

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Nick Hulme tweeted after a private company offered him protective overalls at £16.50 each – they are normally sold for £2.

Hulme, who runs Ipswich Hospital and Colchester General Hospital tweeted after receiving the offer.

In the tweet he said: ‘Just had a company contact me to offer coveralls at £16.50 each. Two months ago they were selling them for £2.00 each. Outrageous profiteering.’

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Nick Hulme was offered £2 protective gowns at the price of £16.50

The NHS boss took to twitter to complain about the ‘outrageous profiteering’. He had been forced to source PPE for his trust from alternative outlets

The NHS boss said: ‘I get that there may be more costs involved in production at the moment.

‘Clearly there are problems with the supply chain, which might require a genuine increase in price – but I absolutely can’t accept that something that was £2 in January is now worth £16.50.

‘For me, it just smacked of blatant profiteering. It is a company that we have used before but can I absolutely guarantee we won’t be using them again and indeed I’ve let a few of my NHS colleagues know about this and a few people picked it up on twitter.

‘We’ve seen the amazing support we have had for the NHS, whether it’s the clapping at 8pm on a Thursday or all sorts of other ways and yet there are also people out there who are willing to make not only a fast buck but several fast bucks from vulnerable people and from a vulnerable situation, where frankly they’re feeding on people’s fear.

‘I was contacted on twitter by somebody who said their local pharmacists are selling face masks for at £4.99 each.

‘These cost pence if you buy them in bulk.’

He said that his staff have the equipment they need for now, but he needed to secure more for future work. 

He said he wanted to provide gold standard gowns for frontline staff but warned that compromises were having to be made because of the pandemic.

Nick Hulme, who runs the Ipswich Hospital (pictured) and Colchester General Hospital, told staff that compromises had to be made during the coronavirus pandemic

Speaking in response to the offer Hulme received, Ipswich Conservative MP Tom Hunt said: ‘I think it is disgraceful and I think the fact the chief executive has felt strongly enough to post about it on Twitter probably demonstrates quite how strongly he feels about it as well.

‘We are living through unprecedented and hugely challenging times and this type of behaviour when there is such a shortage of protective equipment I think is disgraceful and I think the company should be named and shamed.

‘I think its interesting to go back to when the Chancellor of the Exchequer spoke when the lockdown was announced.

‘He said when this is all done we want to look back on this period and think of what we did and the part we played and I think certainly if I was involved in that company I would be ashamed.

Hulme said that his hospitals have enough personal protective equipment (stock image) for now

‘Yes we understand they are private companies and businesses and if they’ve manufactured something I appreciate that they do have to sell some of it and make a bit of an income but to be increasing the cost of something by so much is just disgraceful.

‘Ideally there should be some sort of punishment to show that this sort of behaviour isn’t acceptable.’

NHS boss Hulme  told the BBC ‘We are looking at alternatives. We are talking to schools, we are talking to local factories, we are talking to DIY shops for coveralls.

‘We are talking to [nuclear power plant] Sizewell who may be able to help with some of the protective equipment.’

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