We don’t have the full facts yet but this is beginning to look like a re-run of the ‘rerouting’ of UK-funded PPE supplies away from Scotland and the denial of overseas PPE supplier details to Scottish agencies. More below.
At the moment it looks like the apparent fall in confirmed infection cases from more than 1 100 to only 316 in the last 24 hours is due to delays in the UK-run system’s Glasgow base and that these delays are due to a surge in demand from ‘outwith Scotland.’ overwhelming the Glasgow facility.
From the Scottish Government website:
“The Scottish Government is urgently trying to establish with the UK Government what exactly is causing the delay in testing but this is mainly due to demand from outwith Scotland.”
The UK system, like the centralised PPE purchasing and storage system is funded by all UK tax-payers. Scotland has an entitlement.
The UK Government denies deliberately rerouting or delaying Scottish tests but given that both governments insist the Glasgow facility has no capacity issues, it’s hard to see another explanation.
Prioritising the testing for areas of England such as the North-West, where cases have spiked dramatically, in an effort maintain an image of competence in the UK system, would surprise no one.
We saw, earlier in the pandemic, the readiness of the UK Government to prioritise English over Scottish needs for PPE.
Grabbing the PPE for England
On the Andrew Marr show on July 5th, the smarmy, Sir Simon Stevens lied that Public Health England had not hogged the supply of PPE, produced for contracts paid for across the UK. Donald Macaskill of Scottish Care was shocked and tweeted:
Lying like that, regardless of evidence (below) is just standard for the Oxbridge elite running things in England these days.
Denying access to overseas suppliers
In May, two UK departments, funded by the Scottish taxpayer, with extensive overseas trade links were told not to support Scottish attempts to buy PPE
From the Scottish Government site, key points from Jeane Freeman’s statement below:
We have raised a specific issue with the UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, about a decision that was taken with respect to the Department for International Trade overseas network and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office issuing advice not to support new procurement requests from devolved administrations.
The Department forInternational Trade’s overseas networks should be supporting the devolved Administrations, as parts of the UK.
Making our own PPE
Since then we have seen a growth in the number of manufacturers of PPE in Scotland:
The new supply chain forms part of Scottish Government’s two-pronged ‘make and buy’ strategy to source PPE gowns. It fulfils the ‘make’ priority to establish a supply chain for gowns manufactured in Scotland and will complement the ongoing ‘buy’ activities to ensure that supply continues to meet demand.’
There are already signs of the Scottish testing system moving toward greater autonomy with the Scottish Government website indicating: “We continue to reroute routine testing of care home staff through NHS Scotland testing facilities to ensure prompt turnaround times.”