PPE gear for NHS staff branded useless when it failed safety tests was made by a Turkish T-shirt company, it was revealed yesterday.
Health officials desperate to tackle PPE shortages endangering frontline staff cut a lightning deal with Istanbul-based textile firm boss Mehmet Duzen last month.
But thousands of the hospital gowns fashioned by the rag trade company were branded “useless” after failing tests on arrival in the UK.
And Duzen was yesterday revealed to have previously peddled only t-shirts and tracksuits having founded the company just four months ago.
DOWNPAYMENT OF AT LEAST £300K
A downpayment of at least £300,000 of taxpayers’ money has already been paid to the businessmen as the bulk of his sub-standard goods gathered dust in a Heathrow warehouse.
And 170,000 more of the items are still in Turkey after officials blocked their delivery on safety grounds.
Senior MPs last night demanded an inquiry into the costly fiasco as Downing Street said the government wanted its money back or a replacement.
But Duzen was hanging onto his deposit last night — blaming the British for bungling the hastily-cobbled disaster deal.
He said: “If it was a normal order, I would have cancelled it.
“Because there was a misunderstanding and there was no time. How could I supply the goods in one night?”
Duzen’s family firm, Selegna Tekstil landed the major order for 400,000 hospital gowns after offering help the UK government early in April.
But thousands of poorly-made items — heralded on TV by housing minister Robert Jenrick during TV briefings and delivered by the RAF — were declared unusable after checks.
‘MONEY BEING POURED DOWN THE DRAIN’
Mark Roscrow, chairman of the Health Care Supply Association said Selegna’s lack of PPE-making experience “should have raised the alarm”.
He added: “Clearly we had some confidence in them, but that has apparently been a mistake. It’s ended up with money being poured down the drain.”
Tobias Ellwood MP, chairman of the Commons defence select committee, said: “I want this Government to succeed but you need to demonstrate your success, not promise it and fail to deliver.”
A Department of Health spokesman said: “While a small number of these gowns have failed tests in the UK, more have passed tests making them suitable for use in the NHS.
“We are working night and day to source PPE internationally and domestically.”
Did you miss our previous article…