MPs were told that the cost of storing the UK’s PPE stockpile is £6.7 million per week.
According to a senior Whitehall official, the government is presently spending roughly £6.7 million per week to keep the UK’s supply of personal safety equipment (PPE).
According to Sir Chris Wormald, permanent secretary of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), the UK now has roughly 12.6 billion pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks, gloves, and aprons.
He told the Public Accounts Committee in the House of Commons that this is more than what has been sent to the front lines of the epidemic so far, with an additional 8.4 billion items on order and still to arrive in the UK.
The DHSC’s chief civil servant justified the expenditures, telling the committee that it was better than having insufficient PPE for NHS personnel, and that the cost of storing the items had decreased.
“The current position – we have purchased roughly 32 billion articles of personal protective equipment (PPE) at a cost of roughly £15 billion during the pandemic,” Sir Chris told MPs.
“So far, 11.7 billion items have been dispatched to the front lines, 12.6 billion are held in central storage in the UK, and 8.4 billion are on order from other areas of the world.
“I believe today’s statistic, and these numbers fluctuate, is that it costs us around £6.7 million per week to hold our primary stock of PPE.
“Now that has been reducing very quickly; the corresponding number for January 21 was £11.6 million, so we’ve made some significant storage reductions, but it remains a significant cost.”
He said that PPE was purchased based on “realistic worst-case scenarios” with a 5-10 percent possibility of occurring.
“We’ve been fortunate in that we haven’t been in the worst-case scenario, so we expect to have more PPE than we actually require,” he added.
“Although this presents some difficulties, it is unquestionably preferable than the alternative, so we are extremely satisfied with the choice we made for stock. (This is a brief piece.)