Downing Street denies ordering 10,000 ventilators off Dyson

Billionaire inventor Sir James Dyson

Billionaire inventor Sir James Dyson - Credit: PA

The government has said it is yet to sign a contract with Dyson, despite claims from the billionaire inventor that they were making 10,000 for the NHS.

Sir James emailed Dyson staff to say 'we have received an initial order of 10,000 units from the UK government'.

He said teams of engineers had been working solidly on the design since receiving the call from the prime minister 10 days ago, and the UK government had placed an initial order of 10,000 units.

He added: 'We have received an initial order of 10,000 units from the UK government, which we will supply on an open-book basis.

'We are also looking at ways of making it available internationally.'

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The company is now waiting for the design to receive regulatory approval so manufacturing can commence.

Created in partnership with Cambridge-based science engineering firm TTP, the new ventilator had to be safe, effective, efficient in conserving oxygen and portable, Dyson said.

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'The core challenge was how to design and deliver a new, sophisticated medical product in volume and in an extremely short space of time. The race is now on to get it into production,' he said.

He added: 'Ventilators are a regulated product so Dyson and TTP will be working with the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory products Agency and the Government to ensure that the product and the manufacturing process is approved.'

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But the prime minister's spokesman said all manufacturers turning their efforts to making ventilators must pass tests from expert clinicians and health regulators before purchases are made.

'New orders are all dependent on machines passing regulatory tests; this is the case with Dyson,' he said.

'Their machines must meet the necessary safety and regulatory standards - if they do not, they will not be brought or rolled out to hospitals.'

It has, however, ordered 8,000 additional ventilators from elsewhere to boost the stock of 8,000 already available to the health service.

Johnson's phone call with manufacturers last week is said to have left a number unimpressed after he joked that it could be dubbed 'operation last breath'.

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