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PPE Procurement

Volume 676: debated on Wednesday 20 May 2020

What steps he is taking to ensure that the procurement of personal protective equipment in response to the covid-19 outbreak operates effectively between the UK and Scottish Governments. (902838)

The UK Government are working tirelessly to procure PPE both internationally and domestically for UK-wide distribution. This is in addition to the Scottish Government’s own procurement processes. We are working with the devolved Administrations to ensure that the different parts of the UK do not compete against one another in the international market, and that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office can make a single approach to foreign Governments.

The lack of PPE is a scandal. It is part of the reason for the high mortality rate in care homes across the UK. What discussions has the Minister had with the Scottish Government to ensure that nations are not competing against one another for the vital PPE that our essential frontline workers need?

As I said in my opening remarks, the UK Government are committed to ensuring that we work as a United Kingdom, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has taken a lead on this issue to ensure that that can happen. I have had regular discussions with Donald Macaskill of Scottish Care about PPE, but also about the outstanding work that our care workers are doing in care homes and around the community across Scotland and the whole of the United Kingdom; they deserve our praise for what they are doing.