A British-based manufacturer says that they have been told by the government not to produce much-needed ventilators less than a week after being asked to help make thousands of the machines, the company’s chief executive has said.
Nick Grey, chief executive of Gtech, toldWorcester News reporter Christian Barnett that he had been advised by the government on 26 March not to continue making ventilators, despite his company answering the government’s call for help in producing more than 30,000 of the machines just two weeks prior.
A statement from the Worcester-based company’s chief executive said:
On Friday (March 20), the cabinet and medical group co-ordinating the project gave us the go ahead to prepare for production. However last evening (March 26) they advised that they did not want us to proceed at this time.
Everyone involved can be proud that we were ready to respond to the nation needs and start production in such a short time. We will still complete and publish our design as there has been a lot of interest for it from around the world.
It’s not clear why the government allegedly told the company to stop producing the ventilators, particularly seeing as the machines are key to keeping people alive who have trouble breathing because of coronavirus. It has been reported, though, that Dyson had received an order for 10,000 ventilators from the government. But other reports have suggested that the government had opted to scale up production on "existing designs" to produce more ventilators rather than go with a new design.
This news comes just days after the government was criticised for putting "Brexit before breathing" by not signing up to the EU's ventilator scheme. The government eventually clarified that it missed the deadline.
indy100 reached out to the Cabinet Office to clear up all the confusion behind the seemingly rescinded offer. Shortly after this article was published, a government spokesperson responded:
We had an overwhelming response from businesses across the UK offering their support, and we are very grateful to Gtech for their effort.
Unfortunately the Gtech ventilator model did not pass the Government's stringent safety tests and we will not be proceeding further.
The government also sent over some background feedback from the Technical Design Authority on Gtech's design.
It's certainly heartening that so many businesses responded to the government's call for support in sourcing ventilators. Hopefully, wherever they're sourced from, the NHS will soon be equipped with enough machines to get Britain through this difficult moment in our history.