WALES' health minister Vaughan Gething has explained how the Welsh Government has sourced personal protective equipment (PPE) during the pandemic after a damning report by the National Audit Office (NAO) led to “widespread public concern”.

The report released yesterday alleged the UK Government had favoured firms with political connections for PPE-making contracts.

Whitehall documents show a Florida-based firm run by international jewellery designer Michael Saiger was handed contracts worth up to £790 million to supply PPE for health workers since the start of the pandemic.

However, decisions on PPE are devolved, and so decisions in Wales are the responsibility of the Welsh Government.


And in a statement today health minister Vaughan Gething distanced the Welsh Government from the controversy at the other end of the M4.

“I am making this statement following the widespread public concern and interest in the procurement of PPE across the UK,” he said. “Since March 2020 over 451 million items of PPE have been distributed to health and social care in Wales.

“We continue to have a stable supply of PPE to meet the needs of our health and social care workforce.

“The vast majority of the PPE issued has been directly sourced by NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership with all contracts awarded subject to robust governance.

“This includes additional scrutiny from a Finance Governance Group comprising of senior representation from audit, finance, counter-fraud, legal and risk.

“All contracts over £1 million are also approved by the Welsh Government in line with the requirements of the NHS Wales Act 2006.

“All contracts over the EU Procurement threshold are published on the EU public register – Tenders Electronic Daily.

“Our priority now is to maintain a secure position and value for money on PPE over the longer term with Welsh businesses having an important role to play in strengthening the resilience of our PPE supply chains.

“NHS Wales PPE procurement plans blend local manufacture with international supply.

“People in Wales should be assured about the probity and success of our PPE procurement.”

A spokesman from the UK Government's Department of Health and Social Care said: “We have been working tirelessly to deliver PPE, delivering more than 4.9 billion items to the frontline so far. Almost 32 billion items have been ordered to provide a continuous supply, which will meet the future needs of health and social care staff.

"Proper due diligence is carried out for all government contracts and we take these checks extremely seriously."