#ventilatorgate: Early May update

It is now early May and over the last few days a small number of news pieces about the process. NBC has one about how some of the Chinese ventilators could kill patients if deployed in hospitals. More interestingly, both the FT and The Guardian have broader pieces of the process itself and they make for grim reading.

Both found that when it came to the "new design" ventilators, not a single machine has yet been approved by the MHRA and, as I said here in the past, doesn’t look likely it will ever happen. In fact, most of those efforts have now stood down.

Out of the two reports, The Guardian is the most interesting and answers some important questions such as the name/identities of the teams commissioned to develop the new ventilators and quotes from participants. I particularly liked the scathing comment on Dyson's publication of a mock up image as soon as the contract was awarded...

It also confirms some of my earlier views (confirmation bias alert!) that players inside the process feel that the decisions should have been taken earlier. In my view, by not doing so the Government breached procurement law by awarding the contracts directly as it did not act diligently.

But the most interesting nugget of information was to be found on Hacker News, where this nugget was posted anonymously on May 2nd:

I think this settles the question of the likelihood of any of those new design ventilators ever being useful in the timeframe of the first wave of this pandemic.

05/05/20 update:

1. Not a single new design ventilator has been approved by the MHRA and is being produced or deployed

2. As of April 30th the NHS has access to 10,900 ventilators, an increase of 2,400 since the beginning of the crisis, but well below the expected 18,000 we should have had on April 20th.

3. Out of the call, only Ventliator Challenge UK is actually producing ventilators for NHS and the numbers have no been updated recently.

4. No contract has been made public yet, although Cogent technology announced it had been contracted to produce 13,500 ventilators within 12 weeks (it has since been stood down)