Posted on Mar 19, 2020
Britain faces a “massive shortage” of ventilators that will be needed to treat critically ill patients suffering from coronavirus, after it failed to invest enough in intensive care equipment, said Andreas Wieland, chief executive of leading ventilator manufacturer Hamilton Medical in Switzerland.
“England is very poorly equipped. They’re going to have a massive shortage, once the virus really arrives there,” he told Reuters in an interview, adding “They are not well equipped with ventilators and intensive care stations,” he said. “They invested very little, and I think now they will pay the price.”
Last week the German government placed an order with manufacturer Draegerwerk for 10,000 ventilators. The UK government, by contrast, is planning to tap into the military's inventory - the British military has 35 ventilators.
The National Health Service (NHS) currently has 5,000 ventilators, which UK health minister Matt Hancock has acknowledged is inadequate.
- UK's NHS unable to cope due to lack of hospital beds as Coronavirus sufferers are sent home.
- Boris Johnson's response to Coronavirus: say much, do little, but protect the bankers
“We are likely to need more,” a National Health Service spokesman told Reuters. “Engineers have already been tasked with developing plans to produce more ventilators in the UK, at speed.”
Hamilton CEO Wieland is sceptical, however, of the British government’s recent call for manufacturers from other industries including Ford, Honda and Rolls Royce to help make equipment including ventilators.
“I wish them the best of luck,” Wieland said. “I do not believe anything will come of it. These devices are very complex. It takes us four to five years” to develop a new product.
Image: By Rcp.basheer - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/...
Follow EU Today on Social media: