By Tony Winterburn •
Published: 01 May 2020 • 9:58
SENIOR doctors have warned that hundreds of ventilators the UK government bought from China to relieve a major shortage are the wrong type and could actually kill patients. It is believed staff were behind a recently discovered letter informing NHS bosses of the faulty machines.
The letter says the devices were designed for use in ambulances rather than hospitals, had an “unreliable” oxygen supply, and were of “basic” quality. The document also claims the ventilators cannot be cleaned properly, are an unfamiliar design, and come with a confusing instruction manual.
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove triumphantly announced the arrival of “300 ventilators from China” to help treat Covid-19 patients on April 4, the letter of warning from doctors was issued just nine days later. “We believe that if used, significant patient harm, including death, is likely,” it says.
“We look forward to the withdrawal and replacement of these ventilators with devices better able to provide intensive care ventilation for our patients.” It said the machine had been designed for use inside an ambulance rather than beside a hospital bed, making it the wrong type altogether – leaving medics forced to create a makeshift stand using hospital trolleys.
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