Priti Patel ‘sorry if people feel there have been failings’ over coronavirus PPE

Home secretary Priti Patel. Photograph: Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA Wire.

Home secretary Priti Patel. Photograph: Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Home secretary Priti Patel has said she is sorry 'if people feel there have been failings' over getting NHS staff personal protective equipment (PPE) during the coronavirus outbreak.

It comes after health secretary Matt Hancock confirmed 19 NHS workers had now lost their lives after contracting Covid-19.

Patel, fielding questions at a Downing Street briefing, said she was 'sorry' if people felt there had been failings regarding the supply of PPE.

After being asked twice if she would apologise to NHS staff and their families over the lack of 'necessary PPE', Patel said: 'I'm sorry if people feel that there have been failings. I will be very, very clear about that.

'But at the same time, we are in an unprecedented global health pandemic right now.


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'It is inevitable that the demand and the pressures on PPE and demand for PPE are going to be exponential. They are going to be incredibly high.

'And of course we are trying to address that as a government.'

MORE: Backlash after health secretary says PPE should be treated as 'precious resource'

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Acting leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey warned that 'ministers look in danger of losing control'.

'We simply cannot send tens of thousands of frontline workers to care for people as they fight this virus without adequate protection.

'The lack of sufficient protective equipment is becoming a national scandal; many health and care staff clearly feel they've been sold down the river.

'I am repeating therefore my call for parliament to be recalled immediately, using online technology, so MPs can ask the questions people need answers to. I hope other opposition party leaders will now join me in this call.

'For the government to maintain the support of the opposition, we must have complete transparency. That is the only way we can all play our part to protect our frontline workers and beat the coronavirus.'

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