Ministry of Health spent $37m on defective PPE

Image: Dom Thomas/RNZ.

The Ministry of Health spent $37 million on personal protective equipment (PPE) that was not fit for purpose.

Its annual report for the year ended June shows the health agency spent a total of $108m on PPE for frontline staff in response to the spread of COVID-19.

The equipment included face masks, face shields, gloves and protective clothing.

However, this cost includes a $71.5m write down in the value of the PPE it had on hand.

About $37m of which was spent on PPE which was defective or raised quality concerns, while the remaining $34.5m was a result of equipment that was bought when prices were at a premium.

The ministry has been approached for comment.

Association of Salaried Medical Specialists union head Sarah Dalton says the defective equipment was a consequence of not enough proactive investment in the public health sector, which left the ministry on the back foot when COVID-19 emerged.

"There's always the potential, when you're having to order large amounts quickly of gear like that, for there to be a few trips along the way.

"But I think part of the issue here is that we haven't as a country invested in proactive public health capacity over quite a long period of time."

She commended those working in the public health sector, but added that there were not enough of them.

Sarah says there is also a need for transparency around which PPE manufacturers were being used, and called for quality control measures to ensure equipment works as it should.


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How is it possible...

Posted on 08-01-2021 16:58 | By morepork

...for PPE gear to be manufactured WITHOUT quality control? Don’t be too hard on the people who bought it; there was great pressure at the time. The trouble with PPE is that you can’t send it back; you need it, and once you have used it there is no chance of a refund. You CAN name and shame the manufacturers... but it won’t help the people who needed the gear. The point about inadequate long term investment proactively in health is well taken. Sadly, health care is a bottomless pit. We need better, careful, and answerable management.

Awaiting Ministry Comment

Posted on 06-01-2021 14:55 | By

The response by Sarah Dalton, who is not a Ministry of Health official is way off the beam. Irrespective of the urgency for PPE, clearly those reponsible for the procurement failed to ensure the quality of PPE they were ordering - Decision in haste, repent at leisure.

No surprises there....

Posted on 06-01-2021 08:48 | By Border Patrol

...I agree Slim Shady. Unfortunately the general public have no idea what is really going on behind the scenes at the ministry, this is the tip of the iceberg.

Surprise surprise

Posted on 06-01-2021 06:49 | By

This is why any vaccine rollout will not start here for many months. The MoH are incompetent.

fall on their sword

Posted on 05-01-2021 21:14 | By hapukafin

How can the department make a purchase so wrong.Someone has to lose their job over this. Just imagine a mechanic put the wrong oil into your car,thats only a $100