Matt Hancock has called on British manufacturers to consider converting part of their production to medical ventilators to treat an increasing number of patients with coronavirus.
The Minister of Health said on Sunday that there are 5,000 ventilators in the UK, but that the number of ventilator needed is many times that number. Hancock said that "anyone who is capable" should "transform their engineering ideas and production lines to make them ... we need to produce more."
Hancock stated on the Andrew Marx show that the government is in discussions with "various companies", including automakers and military engineers. The Sunday Telegraph reported that Rolls-Royce, JCB and Unipart are expected to talk to the Prime Minister on a conference call.
Lord Bamford, Chairman of JCB, said: "The Prime Minister has contacted us to see if we can help produce ventilator. At present, our research and engineering team is actively studying this requirement. It is unclear whether we can Help, but as a British company, we will do everything we can to help our country in an unprecedented period. "
A spokesperson for Unipart confirmed that the government has contacted the company: "Unipart is not currently engaged in the production of medical products, despite our company's extensive expertise in mass production, some very skilled engineers, and worldwide With world-leading capabilities. Logistics. We are excited to participate in this important project and do everything we can to help. "
According to ITV's Robert Peston, the government has not contacted Rolls-Royce. "I just talked to Warren East, chief executive of Rolls-Royce, one of the UK's most advanced engineering companies. He said the government He has not been contacted to discuss whether his supplier's facilities can be used to make thousands of respirators. "
Rolls-Royce does not deny the possibility that its production may be partially shifted to the manufacture of ventilation equipment. A spokesperson said: "We understand that the government is exploring how businesses can help cope with the Covid-19 epidemic. As they develop their plans, we are keen to do everything we can to help the government and the country at this time and hope to provide Practical help. "
When Marr asked about the usefulness of the new ventilator without additional health care professionals, Hancock said, "We have a large number of doctors and we want to bring recently retired people back into service, for example, from some other duties, and then Get them back into the health service. "
Hancock said the National Health Service will stop other activities, including elective or non-emergency surgery.
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He said "huge efforts are being made" to ensure that the necessary personnel and equipment are in place to effectively respond to the outbreak.
Chairman of the British Medical Association, Dr. Riesh Parmar, intensive care physician, praised the Minister of Health's remarks about purchasing additional ventilation and extra beds, but said that such an effort would be "meaningless without more professionals" ".
"Doctors across the country are shouting for lack of intensive care resources, and the news will be welcomed by doctors across the country," he said.
"While the NHS hospital has an emergency plan to create an ITU [Intensive Care Unit] bed and the government has purchased more ventilators, the elephants in the rooms lack trained intensive care nurses and doctors. The NHS is severely staffed Faced with this pandemic in the context of a shortage, the department has nearly 43,000 nurses and 10,000 doctors vacant. There is no point in not having enough trained personnel to operate new ventilators. "
Parmar added that purchasing additional capacity in private hospitals may address the lack of physical space in the NHS, but said private hospitals in the UK "are very few intensive care beds."
"Insufficient systemic resources and outflows of government-sponsored national health services have ultimately left the country with a serious shortage of professional intensive care nurses and doctors," he said.
The United Kingdom ranks 24th out of 31 countries in terms of the number of intensive care beds available per 100,000 residents, compared to other European countries.
Doctors and hospital trusts have revealed that medical services for millions of patients will be delayed as the hospital cancels non-emergency operations, including some operations on people with heart and lung conditions.
The rest of Europe is also racing to buy or produce more ventilator, and Italy is already facing such a serious shortage that patients with the best chance of survival are given priority.
The Financial Times reports that Germany has ordered 10,000 ventilators from a domestic supplier. One such ventilator costs about 17,000 Euros (£ 15,400).
News References: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/mar/15/coronavirus-uk-manufacturers-urged-to-consider-switching-to-making-ventilators