Cabinet office minister Michael Gove has said there was “communication confusion” after the government missed the deadline to join an EU scheme to get extra ventilators.
He was also forced to apologise to a British company who offered to procure ventilators for the NHS.
Downing Street earlier this week said the UK had decided to pursue its own scheme rather than joining the EU’s procurement scheme.
However, a No 10 spokesperson explained that officials did not get emails inviting the UK to join and it could opt in to future schemes.
Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show on the BBC, Gove said: “There was some confusion over our involvement in that scheme, but I’ve talked to senior figures in the NHS and they’ve reassured me that there is nothing that we can’t do as an independent nation that being part of that scheme would have allowed us to do.”
Asked whether an email was received by the government, he said: “There was some communication confusion, I don’t know all the details of that, but I do know having talked to senior figures in the NHS that there’s nothing that participating in that scheme would have allowed us to do that we have not been able to do ourselves.”
Gove also issued an apology to a company which said it did not receive a reply from the government having offered to procure ventilators for the NHS.
An NHS supplier in Nantwich said that in the international market it had found 25,000 ventilators which it could have procured for the Government.
However, the supplier said that having asked the government if it wanted the ventilators, it did not receive a reply.
Gove said: “I’m very sorry if that company says that it didn’t get a reply, I’ll investigate as soon as I’ve stopped talking to you [Marr].
“It is the case that for companies that have got in touch with the government those offers of help have been forwarded to the relevant people in the NHS and in other aspects of government in order to make sure we secure those supplies.
“If that company wants to get in touch directly with me, we’ll investigate, because there have been some cases where people had hoped they might be able to help, but in fact the material that they produce has not met the NHS specifications, it’s not what’s required in order to save lives, but we have been following up every single lead presented to us.”
Do your bit for independent journalism
Did you know that less than 1.5% of our readers contribute financially to The Canary? Imagine what we could do if just a few more people joined our movement to achieve a shared vision of a free and fair society where we nurture people and planet.
We need you to help out, if you can.
When you give a monthly amount to fund our work, you are supporting truly independent journalism. We hold power to account and have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence the counterpoint to the mainstream.
You can count on us for rigorous journalism and fearless opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right wing mainstream media.
In return you get:
- Advert free reading experience
- Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
- 20% discount from our shop