Shipment of 84 tonnes of personal protective equipment delayed

A delivery of 84 tonnes of personal protective equipment (PPE) for front-line workers has been delayed.

The shipment, which includes 400,000 surgical gowns, was due to arrive in the UK from Turkey on Sunday afternoon.

The reason for the delay is not yet known.

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Robert Jenrick said the consignment will help give staff the protection they need (David Mirzoeff/PA)

A Government spokeswoman said: “We are continuing to work to ensure the shipment is delivered as soon as possible.”

Communities secretary Robert Jenrick set out details of the consignment at the daily Downing Street press conference on Saturday, describing it as a “very significant additional shipment”.

He said: “Supply in some areas, particularly gowns and certain types of masks and aprons, is in short supply at the moment and that must be an extremely anxious time for people working on the front line.

“But they should be assured that we are doing everything we can to correct this issue and to get them the equipment that they need.”

Health bosses said the shipment would provide only enough PPE to last “a few days”.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said it “may be enough to avert an absolute crisis over this weekend” but “it doesn’t solve the longer term problem”.

He said: “The question really is how guaranteed are we that we will have similar shipments over the next few weeks and then will there be from May onwards a really guaranteed regular supply so we take away the levels of fear and anxiety which are existing in hospitals, but also crucially, in GP services and communities and social care as well?”

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