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FFP2 respirator masks such as these are used by healthcare workers. Getty Images
Fifty million face masks bought by the government in April will not be used in the NHS because of safety concerns.
The government says the masks, which use ear-loop fastenings rather than head loops, may not fit tightly enough.
They were bought for healthcare workers from supplier Ayanda Capital as part of a £252m contract.
Ayanda says the masks meet the specifications the government had set out. The government says its safety standards process is “robust”.
It also emerged that the person who originally approached the government about the deal was a government trade adviser who also advises the board of Ayanda.
But he told the BBC his position played no part in the awarding of the contract.
In the early weeks of the pandemic the NHS experienced severe shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE).
The government says it had to find new suppliers quickly to meet demand and to compete with rising global competition.
On 29 April the Department of Health and Social Care signed the £252m contract with Ayanda Capital Limited to supply two types of face masks.
The most expensive part of the order consisted of 50 million FFP2 respirator masks, which are designed to protect healthcare workers from inhaling harmful particles.
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Author: Phil Kemp
Date: 06 August 2020