UPDATE: Since this report went live on this website 3 days ago, the Government have since claimed that an email inviting the UK to join the scheme went missing, despite a spokesperson at No 10 stating the 'UK wished to make it's own decisions and not trely on help!" At a press conference the question was asked again and the PM's spokesperson responded simply, “We are no longer members of the EU." Yesterday (27th March), the EU confirmed that British respresentatives were present when the discussion about the scheme was discussed.
Brexit will cost lives in the UK because of the Covid-19 virus and Boris Johnson’s refusal to accept the invitation from the EU to join it’s scheme to procure much-needed medical equipment. Britain was invited to be included as it is in the Brexit transition period and being treated like a member state.
The scheme, is using the 500 million-person single market’s huge buying power to secure faster and cheaper orders with less admin at a time of extreme global demand.
The first order placed by the EU, which will go to 25 of the 27 member states, covers “masks type 2 and 3, gloves, goggles, face-shields, surgical masks and overalls” – all of which are needed in the UK.
Commenting, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said:
“All over the world, there’s right now a tremendous need for protective clothing and medical equipment. It is therefore a success that the Joint European Procurement Initiative has been able to secure on the world market concrete offers of considerable scale on shortest notice.
This is EU solidarity in action. It shows that being part of the Union pays off. This material should soon provide considerable relief in Italy, Spain and in 23 more member states.”
But the UK Government and it’s ‘Little England’ mentality, seems to have outlawed anything and everything which involves the EU; and care more about it’s hatred of the EU, than it does for the lives of the NHS doctors and nurses on the front-line of the fight to save the lives of Covid-19 victims and that of the public!
The Daily Telegraph today reports that Dr Rinesh Parmar, chair of the Doctors’ Association UK has described the situation as “travesty” and said “the government hasn’t kept its side of the bargain with NHS staff by not having enough [personal protective equipment] available to safeguard the health of doctors and nurses”.
Trade Unions have repeatedly warned about the lack of equipment in the social care sector, where workers are looking after vulnerable elderly people most at risk from Covid-19.
Unison assistant general secretary Christina McAnea:
“Care workers and their employers have huge concerns about getting their hands on the equipment they need. It’s too easy for staff to fall through the net given councils are dealing with many different care providers.
“Supplies for the NHS have rightly been given a lot of attention. But any shortages in social care are equally crucial. Solving this problem could help reassure thousands of care staff that they’re not putting themselves or the people they look after at risk.”
Ed Davey, the acting leader of the Liberal Democrats told The Independent:
“Reports that the UK were offered the opportunity to take part in this scheme and refused are deeply disturbing.
The Coronavirus knows no borders. It is a pandemic. International solidarity is crucial to protecting the UK. If working with the EU means we can get access to more protective equipment any sensible government would jump at the chance.
“The PM must not let Brexit ideology dictate his approach to Coronavirus. People’s lives must come first.”
Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth also criticised the decision not to take part in the EU scheme. “With widespread concerns about our ventilator capacity and the urgent need to scale-up that capacity, we should be co-operating through international schemes to ensure we get these desperately need pieces of kit.” he said.
Source: The Independent / The Daily Telegraph / The Mirror