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Hospital boss ‘outraged’ as firm offers PPE for 825% of original price

PUBLISHED: 07:30 24 April 2020 | UPDATED: 11:03 30 April 2020

Nick Hulme, chief executive of ESNEFT Picture: ARCHANT

Nick Hulme, chief executive of ESNEFT Picture: ARCHANT

Rachel Edge

A company selling personal protective equipment (PPE) has been slammed for ‘outrageous profiteering’ after coveralls were offered to a Suffolk health trust at 825% of the normal price.

The East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) were offered the coveralls by the business, which has not been named, at a cost of £16.50 when two months ago they were for sale for only £2.00.

Nick Hulme, CEO of ESNEFT took to twitter to slam the company for “outrageous profiteering’. The senior health boss has also been joined by local politicians who have called for the company to be “named and shamed”.

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt said: “I think it is disgraceful and I think the fact the chief executive has felt strongly enough to post about it on Twitter probably demonstrates quite how strongly he feels about it as well.

“We are living through unprecedented and hugely challenging times and this type of behaviour when there is such a shortage of protective equipment I think is disgraceful and I think the company should be named and shamed.

“I think its interesting to go back to when the Chancellor of the Exchequer spoke when the lockdown was announced.

“He said when this is all done we want to look back on this period and think of what we did and the part we played and I think certainly if I was involved in that company I would be ashamed.

“Yes we understand they are private companies and businesses and if they’ve manufactured something I appreciate that they do have to sell some of it and make a bit of an income but to be increasing the cost of something by so much is just disgraceful.

“Ideally there should be some sort of punishment to show that this sort of behaviour isn’t acceptable.”

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The outrage has come as frontline workers, including pharmacists, continue to voice concerns about becoming infected at work through lack of protection and difficulties maintaining social distancing.

According to a survey by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), over a third (34%) of respondents were still unable to access continuous supplies of PPE and almost 95% said they could not maintain the recommended two-metre distance from colleagues due to the size of their workplace.


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