CORONA Coronavirus in Ireland – Quality issues reported with some personal protective equipment flown in from Beijing


Has No Life - Lives on TB
QUALITY issues have arisen with some of the vital medical supplies flown in from China for healthcare workers to fight Covid-19.

Some €28 million worth of much-needed personal protective equipment was brought in by a special flight from Beijing at the weekend for our embattled nurses and doctors.

The Aer Lingus Airbus A330-302 cargo plane was packed with PPE including masks, face shields, gowns and goggles.

Last night the HSE admitted some of the essential kit that arrived in the first batch from China was "not ideal".

But with more trips planned to Beijing to pick up additional PPE in the coming days, officials pledged to rectify the issue.

A HSE spokesperson told the Irish Sun: "Infection Prevention and Control clinical experts from the HSE undertake product testing on all shipments received in order to assess quality and suitability for use of the equipment.

"Any issues identified in the first batch received during this week are being fed back to be addressed in subsequent orders. Some elements of the first batch are not ideal but may be usable if an alternative supply is not available.

"Despite the challenges and volatility in the worldwide PPE market, the HSE has managed to secure a significant secondary line of supply to ensure alternate product is available if and when needed."

The HSE said the shipment into Dublin Airport on Sunday was only the first wave of the HSE's €208 million order of PPE from China.

They said: "Ireland, in common with every country globally, is facing significant challenges in sourcing PPE in an extremely competitive global market.

"In the midst of this unprecedented demand and supply shortage, Ireland has achieved what some major economies failed to do, which is to establish a number of confirmed supply lines for PPE, both internationally and through a scaling up of production for certain products in Ireland.

The HSE is distributing PPE across the system on a daily basis and has additionally engaged a third party logistics and distribution company to support this process.

"In an average year the HSE spends an overall figure of €15m on PPE, in contrast with an initial budget of €208m for PPE to tackle Covid-19, of which €60m plus has been spent to date.

"Procuring goods that meets the necessary standards of HSE, and as specified by WHO, is of paramount importance to HSE. There are multiple suppliers of PPE to HSE.

However, HSE has an overarching Framework Agreement in place with China Resource Pharmaceuticals which secures the primary supply line of PPE."



Has No Life - Lives on TB
Come clean over new coronavirus PPE supplies, doctors urge Government

Doctors have urged the Government to come clean over how long it will take to address problems with some Chinese coronavirus protective equipment.

Images posted online show gowns with three-quarter length sleeves, leaving arms exposed, and some staff have described gear as not fit for purpose.

A €200m order has seen plane-loads of kit arriving in Ireland over recent days, and ministers have vowed good use will be found for it.

It is intended to protect doctors and nurses who are braced for a surge in the number of Covid-19 patients in the Republic’s hospitals over coming weeks.

The organisation representing doctors, the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), warned: “It is unacceptable to expect frontline health care staff to work without proper protection.”

Health chiefs have acknowledged supplies in some cases are different from what Irish medics are used to.

They are attempting to source additional equipment.

The IMO said: “We welcome the acceptance by the Health Service Executive (HSE) that there are problems with the recent supply from China and the fact that they are pursuing changes to future orders and alternate suppliers.

“However, we must again stress that doctors and other healthcare workers need assurances on the issues around personal protection equipment – the supply lines and the timelines in which the issues will be addressed in an open and transparent way.”

It said it was monitoring the ongoing situation closely.

“High quality and reliable personal protective equipment is an absolute necessity for frontline medical professionals and those working in each setting have to have access for the appropriate personal protective equipment for their roles so as to protect themselves, patients, and continue working in what are already highly stressful environments.”

Ireland’s Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said available equipment was different from that which the country’s healthcare professionals are used to.

“It is being tested and assessed by the HSE.

“Good use will be found for it. We will continue to look for additional equipment.

“It has become such a competitive environment for this equipment and we are looking at this all the time.”


The HSE has been forced to seek alternative sources of personal protective equipment (PPE) following issues with the quality and size of some supplies ordered from China.

Since Sunday last planeloads of PPE have been arriving into the country, as part of a €200 million plus order by the HSE for vital protective gear for frontline staff fighting the Covid-19 outbreak.

Issues have emerged with the size and quality of some of the supplies delivered to hospital and ambulance staff, such as gowns and face masks.

It is not clear how much of the order is impacted but HSE Chief Executive Paul Reid said it will seek alternative supplies in the event materials from China do not materialise as expected.

HSE Clinical Lead for Infection Control, Professor Martin Cormican, told RTÉ: “Some of it is suitable for use and some of it has limited use and some of it is not suitable for use. It’s useful for us to have this new supply line and a good deal of the material that has come in will be useful to us and that’s really important because it’s quite hard internationally to secure this."

Professor Cormican said it is important to keep the supply line open to gain access to the materials that were suitable.

“We’ll have to work with the suppliers and make sure that those items that don’t meet our standards, we don’t want to receive any more of those items but the items that are of use to us we need to keep that supply line open.”

The HSE Clinical Lead said he understands there is enough PPE to meet the needs of healthcare staff at the moment

"I think we’re okay for now based on what we can see and our projections but it is a very volatile situation,” he said.

Meanwhile, a shortage of protective eye kit has also meant that some healthcare staff have been asked to disinfect and reuse goggles that are normally for single use only.

Professor Cormican said that reuse is an issue of “very real concern” in a number of healthcare settings and that it was supposed to be ended with the arrival of the new equipment.

Paul Reid advised staff in a video update that efforts are being made to address any concerns about supplies.

“We have been in negotiations worldwide to secure a very significant order of over €200 million and that delivery has started over the last few days,” he said. “We are, however, engaged worldwide to secure alternative stocks should these supplies not materialise to the extent expected. It is a very competitive worldwide market but our own procurement teams have done really well to secure what we have to date."

In recent weeks the Netherlands recalled 1.3 million face masks produced in China because they did not meet the required safety standards or fit properly. The Dutch Ministry of Health said the shipment did not to meet its quality standard and would not be used.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said of the imported PPE equipment that he is confident the Irish taxpayer is getting value for money.

“It is the case that some of the equipment will be different to what healthcare workers are used to. The HSE is now involved in testing and assessing it and finding uses for it to protect frontline staff. We are also continuing to seek all opportunities to acquire new PPE.

“We do acknowledge that some of the equipment is different but good use will be found for it.”