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The government hopes to sell nearly half the intensive care equipment in the strategic pandemic reserve in the next few weeks, HSJ has learned.

The government is set to auction off around half of the intensive care equipment held in a central stockpile after being purchased during the covid pandemic.

There are tens of thousands of redundant pieces of equipment, ranging from ICU ventilators to syringe drivers to patient monitors, held in a “strategic reserve”.

It was built up during the pandemic when the health service and government feared intensive care capacity would be catastrophically breached by mounting covid cases.

This month the Department of Health and Social Care published details of a contract it has awarded to a logistics firm to transport and sell nearly 45 per cent of the unit items held in the stockpile. The sales will be through auction between January and March.

The contract award notice included estimates of how much each product should raise at auction but it was redacted as commercially sensitive.

HSJ has identified lots being sold by the same auction firm that will deal with the DHSC products corresponding to around one-fifth of the units to be sold by the government. They would amount to £2.4m.

A DHSC spokesperson said: “Throughout the pandemic, the UK identified and secured life-saving equipment at a time when there was high global demand.

“We are now taking action to save taxpayers’ money by reducing storage costs for excess stock. We are putting these materials to good use by donating them to NHS trusts and abroad, including to Ukraine, as well as selling, repurposing and recycling where possible.”

The intensive care stockpile does not include personal protective equipment, for which the government was forced to make huge writedowns in value relating to items purchased at the peak of the pandemic and never used.

Source: HSJ

Date: 25 January

Posted in News on Jan 25, 2024

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