The first ventilators from the UK Government’s Ventilator Challenge rolled off production lines this weekend, as new imported devices have also been airlifted into the UK.

300 ventilators recently arrived at Donnington on a flight from China (pictured above), say the MoD.

“The initial batch of Penlon ventilators will begin arriving this week into Defence Equipment and Support’s Defence Fulfilment Centre in Shropshire and urgently delivered to hospitals by the MOD Distribution Service. The Government has ordered several thousand ventilators to be delivered over the course of the next few months.”

According to the Ventilator Challenge website:

“A consortium of significant UK industrial, technology and engineering businesses from across the aerospace, automotive and medical sectors, has come together to produce medical ventilators for the UK. Over the past week the consortium has been working hard to investigate production of a range of ventilator design options to meet a high-level specification for a Rapidly Manufactured Ventilator System developed by clinicians and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

The consortium has evaluated all requirements to design, manufacture, assemble and test components, as well as finished medical ventilators. The consortium will now accelerate production of an agreed new design, based on existing technologies, which can be assembled from materials and parts in current production.  The device combines existing proven clinical equipment and is the clinicians’ first choice for the RMVS.”

Companies in the consortium have now received formal orders from the UK Government in excess of 10,000 units.

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
38 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Daniele Mandelli

Welcome of course. Are they bought or supplied as aid as a good will gesture?

Andy

Not sure for this batch. Other countries generally started with a gift from either the country or leading tech entrepreneurs like Jack Ma. Followed by commercial orders at normal prices.

Corona-diplomacy.

Daniele Mandelli

I hope this whole situation makes HMG realise we need more home grown self reliance. Stop outsourcing, and create reliable supply lines of critical infrastructure and equipment that supports British firms.

Steve

China is always going to have a significantly large manufacturing capacity than the UK, especially as pretty much every physical item you buy these days is either built in China or has most of its parts build there.

I think the lesson that needs learning is that the NHS needs the equipment to handle emergencies. There was no chance they would have had enough ventilators to cover something like this, but it does feel like that there was very little in spare capacity available.

Mark B

Daniele certainly we need the ability to acquire emergency items quickly. That might mean keeping a certain number in stock but also having potential suppliers and component suppliers ready to switch their production from whatever they produce normally to emergency production at the drop of a hat. A proper examination of potential disaster scenarios will identify many such products.

Trevor

I think we all agree with that. But there are limits. If everyone is doing the same, how do we export.

The other point is, when will the world stop China having these filthy animal practices. Otherwise, we will have another outbreak.

Mr Bell

Doubt it, I’ve been trying to source ventilators for years and very used to procurement process for NHS. These ventilators were offered out nationally by the medical company representing the Chinese manufacturer Starlabs. They were full priced, no discount. Chinese industry is churning these ICU ventilators at maximum production rate. Ditto ffp3 and other protective equipment, all at full or above list price, no discount, no goodwill gestures as the whole world is competing for essential medical equipment and the Chinese have a license to make money off the worldwide pandemic caused by their disease. I say their disease not… Read more »

Douglas Newell

Spot on.

Steve

i agree China acted slowly, and tried to keep it quiet, but ultimately it would have got out, we live in an international era where people are traveling constantly (well not so much currently) and before China had realised it wasn’t just a season flu it would have already escaped their borders. Would it have spread slower, probably but i suspect it would have still spread. We in the UK took ages to shut down, weeks after Italy, an earlier shut down could have saved lives, but its a difficult decision. Also can you imagine that US companies or British… Read more »

Spyinthesky

Well 3M and its distributors are doing it to their own people prices rising up to 4 fold the time they reach the user as they refuse to allow a wider supply network to distribute those products beyond those contracted, including face masks.

Steve

I sound like i am defending china, which isn’t intended, but it is possible these companies are stuck in contractual exclusivity agreements, which clearly the distributors would not have a desire to allow them to break right now.

Alison Groves

Well that is hardly a problem. The Chinese Government have breached their contract with the WHO.
That constitutes an Act of God situation.

All deals now off the table. UK production should continue. One thing for certain, if NHS procurement focused on risk in its selection of preferred supply chain, UK reactions to the crisis would have been much quicker.

This event will challenge Chinese manufacturing as the single supply chain in the years ahead.

Interesting times ahead.

JohnHartley

Part of me thinks the £5+million spent on sending a letter from Boris, would have been better spent converting a UK paper factory to making face masks. I see Taiwan did not believe a word of what the CCP was saying. Taiwan massively increased face mask production & has enough to issue a ration of them to its citizens. I think in future, the UK should listen to Taiwan, who are much more likely to spot health threats from China. As a small businessman, I fear with Boris in hospital, the government will dither about a partial lift of the… Read more »

Steve

The whole small/medium sized business going bust is a major concern, but there is no cure yet and the virus is still there, lifting the lockdown at an set date like 5 May, will just mean we are back to where we started.

It needs to be lead by scientists and not policticians.

JohnHartley

Even in science, you have differing opinions. Lives will sadly be lost regardless of the lockdown. We have a very hard decision to make. End, at least in part, the lockdown or face mass unemployment, bankruptcy, a collapse in the tax take & an end to all that extra money that was promised to the NHS, education, roads, defence, police, etc. There will be a limit to how long the lockdown is a help to stop the spread of C-19 anyway. Business, large & small, needs a date to plan to. By all means keep social distancing & other hand… Read more »

Steve

how do you keep distancing if most of the countries income come from London and for people to work there they need to use public transport.

I do however agree it has to end sooner or later, we can’t realistically wait out the cure which could take 18 months i read.

JohnHartley

The government, media, senior officials, are in London. They will make the mistake of thinking London is Britain, it is not. Trump got slammed for letting State governors decide the lockdown in each State, but New York City is a lot different from the vast open spaces of Alaska.
We may need to keep the lockdown in London(within the M25), but lift it, at least in part, in the rest of the Country.

Steve

the mistake is assuming it is not. London generates a disproportionate amount of the GDP and corresponding tax revenue compared to the rest of the UK. It also has a sizable part of the population.

Steve

what i mean is you can’t really lift the lockdown for the rest of the UK but not London, and if you lift it for london you will have the virus spreading fast again. Think of all the commuters going in and out of london spreading the virus to all corners of England and from there the rest of the UK.

JohnHartley

London adds “fantasy wealth” i.e. one banker giving money to another banker who then gives it back, each one taking a fee.
Real wealth creation is outside the M25. Keep London in lockdown, that is where the highest number of cases is & the least space for social distancing. Other parts of the Country have far fewer cases, in part due to more space between people.

Steve

fantasy wealth is wealth these days and raises vital tax revenue. The idea that all the value is in raw material / manufacturing is ancient history for the west and very much for the UK.

JohnHartley

“Fantasy Wealth” may be reaching its limits. Trump created $2.2 trillion, the Fed Reserve printed another $4 trillion for Wall Street. For now, they will get away with it, as the flight to safety wants Dollars. After that, the purchasing power of the Dollar will reduce. I know in my lifetime the purchasing power of the Pound has collapsed by 90%. A father treating kids at School when I was ten, would need a fiver. Now he would need a fifty pound note. You can’t keep printing fiat currency out of thin air & expect it to buy the same.… Read more »

Steve

the government printing currency and banks/service company generating value are very different things.

Anyway, it would be nice to know the governments exit strategy, what is the criteria that they are monitoring and what is the reference point for moving to the next step back to normality.

JohnHartley

“Generating value?” While stuck in lockdown, I am reading “Adults in the Room” by Yanis Varoufakis. The section on “extend & pretend” loans that Greece is stuck with is quite illuminating.

Steve

Again your mixing up government borrowing and service industry.

Value is based on what someone else will pay for it, nothing has a inherent value to them, even gold is only valued by someone else placing a value to it.

Think designer clothes, the same item from the same factory with a different logo is worth less, because the buyer applies value to the label.

JohnHartley

It is a modern version of “the emperors new clothes”. The fantasy wealth will be revealed as vapourware & sadly that implosion (derivatives being many times more than global GDP) will hit the real economy hard.

Gavin Gordon

Agreed, John. The answer in these times of low interest will not be to shutdown regional investment in infrastucture and real job creation. As one instance only, HS2 had better continue. We will, hopefully, move to more online and local working but that will never be absolute for many obvious reasons: not least, because we’re human. Thus an efficient, electrical mass transport system will be more important than ever, not less.
Regards

Gavin Gordon

Or for those classified most vulnerable. As stated before, we cannot do this again.

Gavin Gordon

Already written to him concerning relaxing the lockdown, but that was for local horticultural concerns, so will likely not help you directly. Two programmes on BBC4 of interest last night that do make me wonder if we’ve hit the panic button two hard on this one – generally society does seem to becoming too flappy to me, and I speak as an ostensibly higher risk category on two fronts. Considering we can expect that there will be ‘another one along in a minute’ (yes, like buses) we cannot afford to react this way again (if indeed we can afford it… Read more »

Alison Groves

If you were right in saying the disease would have spread, regardless of whether China informed the WHO & World the true horror of the disease, can you explain why that was not the case with SARS?

Gavin Gordon

Totally agree with your sentiment on homegrown manufacturing. Will the lesson be learnt, or will the west continue its slow motion slide into bankruptcy in hock to an authoritarian state intent on world domination?
Well, judge from early moves by asset management firms post virus outbreak who’ve commenced ditching western investment holdings for far eastern ones (yes, this does mean China).
To borrow from a far eastern expression, though not Chinese: Sayonara, all.

Grubbie

Check out vidio by real engineering about this subject on YouTube. It’s a bit more difficult than some were suggesting and it seems to me that about a month was wasted messing around with requests for proposals, etc Hopefully we are on the right track now. Less than 5000 ventilators was probably not enough to deal with a normal winters flu and it is hard to understand how we ended up with so little resilience. Face masks are the next challenge up.This might be a better thing for the production experts like Dyson to focus on because they extremely simple… Read more »

Spyinthesky

And as usual being late to the party and being left with the dregs.

DaveyB

I can report some good news, the MoD and a number of individual units have taken it upon themselves to turn over their 3D printer facilities. They are manufacturing individual parts of face masks and shields, which are then sent off to make the whole part.

Peter Shaw

300 ventilators recently arrived at Donnington on a flight from China (pictured above), say the MoD. The line afterwards should read “As the UK government wondered whether thee Chinese made ventilators would work or whether the Chinese government were trying to sell on the ventilators that Italy had donated to China and pretend they were made in China”. I’m very angry with the Chinese communist government (as are most of the country) for lying about the numbers that fell ill and died in China. I’m also angry as they still operate wet markets. Indeed it looks like the Wuhan wet… Read more »

JohnHartley

I agree. It is not for me to say how many have died in China, but 3000 seems very unlikely considering the numbers lost in Europe. 9 out of 10 people who sadly die from Covid-19 have another health issue. It is rumoured that Chinese doctors are leaned on to put the other condition as cause of death & not mention C-19.
The UK Gov should stop Chinese takeovers of UK tech firms & limit Chinese student participation in cutting edge research in British universities.

Peter Shaw

I 100% agree with John. We should also take them to the international courts with our US, Canadian, New Zealand, Australian and European partners. if they have been found negligent by the courts we should then sue them. According to international law if they are found guilty we are entitled to seize assets and funds if they don’t pay. I have a number of friends in Japan that have mentioned that Chinese migrant labourers had taken chest X-rays in Japanese hospitals around end of September. I think it is highly plausible that they first noticed the virus at the end… Read more »

Gavin Gordon

Mm, yes. The only thing that may lend credence is the report that China early on shut down movement from Hubei to the rest of China, but let movement continue unhindered worldwide.