NHS expecting 560 new ventilators in Covid-19 fight – Matt Hancock

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said the NHS is expecting to take delivery of 560 new ventilators amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

Earlier this week, the Government announced that 30 new ventilators would be supplied to hospitals next week, although it is thought the NHS needs at least 30,000 devices to cope with peak demand.

It already has 8,000 in hospitals, with another 8,000 ordered.

Downing Street had also called for UK manufacturers and suppliers to help boosts stocks, with firms including Dyson, Rolls-Royce and Mercedes Formula One team now involved in the efforts to produce more.

The devices take over a patient’s breathing function while they are sedated, pushing air into the lungs and giving time to fight the infection and recover.

Speaking to BBC Radio’s 4’s Today programme about Covid-19 testing and ventilator supply on Friday, Mr Hancock said: “I constantly look to see what more we can do from now on in.

“What are the extra things we can do.

“The honest truth on the pharmaceutical side and the testing is that I saw what happened with the ventilators, when we got non-ventilator companies in to build the ventilators side by side with the expert-but-small ventilator companies.

“And that’s worked.”

Coronavirus
A Smiths Medical’s ParaPac Plus ventilator, which is among models now being produced more rapidly (Smiths Medical/PA)

He added the 30 new ventilators announced earlier this week had been a “first day” total.

Mr Hancock said: “There’s 560 already been done and that will ramp up as well.

“So, people will throw their rocks and make their criticisms but I think what we are trying to do in leading the nation through this is, at every single moment, work out what is the best we can do.

“If people come forward with new ideas we haven’t thought of, great, we will take them on.”

On Thursday, a leading group of manufacturers, The Ventilator Challenge UK consortium, announced it was targeting production of 1,500 ventilators a week by May.

Several other existing manufacturers are also scaling up their own production of ventilators to meet the demand.

Earlier this week, Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents healthcare trusts, said it was clear ventilator numbers needed to “significantly increase”.

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