politics

Hancock 'lied about PPE putting thousands of frontline health workers at risk'


Matt Hancock lied about crucial PPE in a No10 Covid crisis meeting – putting thousands of frontline health workers at risk, a No10 eyewitness claims.

The Health Secretary allegedly told Boris Johnson in March 2020 that protective clothing was on its way to NHS staff when it was not.

It is claimed he said a shipment of desperately needed masks and gowns from China had been “sorted out and there was no problem”.

But a No10 source said more than two weeks later a screen in the Cabinet Room showed the consignment flashing red – meaning it had not arrived.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak had to clear up the mess and No10 adviser Dominic Cummings “went into a rage” and was furious the PPE was coming by boat instead of chartered planes.



Matt Hancock
A No10 eyewitness claimed the Health Secretary put thousands of frontline workers at risk

More than 850 of 52,000 frontline health workers went on to die in the pandemic, many complaining of PPE shortages.

The source told the Sunday Mirror: “Nearly everything Hancock said we would later discover was diametrically opposite to the truth. He said bringing in PPE from China had been cleared and it turned out it hadn’t.”

A government spokesman said 11 billion PPE items had been delivered and added: “These claims are unsubstantiated and we reject them. The Government worked flat out to get the PPE needed for the frontline.



Richard Burgon
Richard Burgon said Matt Hancock should resign or be fired

“The National Audit Office recognised all NHS providers they spoke to were able to get the equipment they needed in time.”

Our informant reveals claims that Hancock presided over other blunders around care homes and those shielding at home.

Labour ’s Richard Burgon said: “Matt Hancock should resign and if he doesn’t he should be sacked.”

And writing in the Observer, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “Twice as many people died in the second wave than in the first. That was avoidable and unforgivable.”



Boris Johnson
Mr Hancock allegedly lied to Boris Johnson

In evidence to MPs, Cummings said Hancock should have been sacked and accused him of lying over saying patients were being tested before returning to care homes. The Health Secretary says he only recollects promising checks would be made “when we could do it”.

The PM has backed Hancock. But the No10 insider accused the Health Secretary of consistently telling lies at the 9am Covid meetings.

Of the China PPE debacle, the insider added: “Dom went into a rage. Rishi had to unlock this. He said the Dept of Health could have any money it needed to get PPE through.”

The insider claims Hancock and NHS boss Sir Simon Stevens were in chaos.

An emergency No10 unit under former Vote Leave head of research Oliver Lewis had to be set up to identify those most likely to die so they could receive food parcels while isolating.



Medical staff treat a Covid-19 patient at Royal Papworth hospital in Cambridge
Medical staff treat a Covid-19 patient at Royal Papworth hospital in Cambridge

But the NHS data it began with was so inadequate that numbers rocketed 600,000 from the initial 900,000 in 72 hours. The source revealed: “The whole system was absolutely appalling.”

The government spokesperson rejected the claim, saying: “Our quick action on food parcels meant we were able to provide vital food and medicine to over 1.8 million vulnerable people.”

He added that 4.7 million free boxes of food were delivered in the four months up to 31 July.

Lewis was praised by Cummings. But the unsung heroes of the unit were Jennifer Allum, who ran Whitehall’s gov.uk website, and Lewis’s PA Cara Phillips.

A senior Whitehall figure said: “Cara impressed everyone with her hard work and total grip on the situation. Thousands are alive today because of her.”

The trio worked for three days and nights to get the shielding system up and running. They used the gov.uk website, automated phone lines and a mailshot to reach the vulnerable.

Care home providers blame a litany of Tory cuts for the inability to protect the sector in a crisis.

On May 15 last year, even as the number of care home deaths rose towards an eventual 36,000, Hancock made his declaration that “right from the start we’ve tried to throw a protective ring around our care homes”.

Cummings told MPs that was “nonsense.”

Tonight an Opinium poll showed the Tories had fallen six points since his testimony.

But there were those who did not recognise Cummings’ view of Hancock.

One Tory MP said: “He wouldn’t dare go on telly to promise what he thought he couldn’t deliver. Matt is the kind of guy who sh**s at his own shadow.”





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