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Black Country manufacturers to the rescue as hospitals sent faulty ventilators

By Peter Madeley | Wolverhampton | Coronavirus | Published:

Hospitals in the Black Country have been sent the wrong sort of ventilators for use with critically ill coronavirus patients.

New Cross Hospital

More than 250 ventilators were dispatched to hospitals in the West Midlands last weekend to help with the region’s fight against Covid-19.

But an undisclosed number of machines that were sent to Wolverhampton's New Cross Hospital and Sandwell General Hospital were “not in immediate working order”, a source told the Express & Star.

The ventilators are believed to have been manufactured in China and did not have the correct connections for use in British hospitals.

It is understood that the problem was not identified until hospital staff were preparing the machines for use with sick patients on wards.

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The West Midlands is said to be well stocked with ventilators, with around 400 currently on standby for use at hospitals.

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The machines take over the body’s breathing process when disease has caused the lungs to fail. They are considered a life-saving tool in the fight against Covid-19.

The situation was discussed at a West Midlands Combined Authority coronavirus briefing.

Shipment

Dr David Rosser, chief executive of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, revealed that trusts in the Black Country were not happy with the devices they had received.

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He said local manufacturers had stepped in to make tubes for the ventilators.

The four hospitals he is responsible for took a shipment of 140 ventilators on Saturday.

Sandwell General Hospital

"They are not the ventilators that our specialists in intensive care would have chosen in normal times," he said, adding that they are "perfectly functional" but had "some quirks".

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said the ventilators "can be adapted and put into use".

"There is ventilator capacity in all trusts as it stands today," he added.

China said on Sunday that it had exported around four billion masks, 16,000 ventilators, 37.5 million pieces of protective clothing, and 2.84 million coronavirus testing kits to more than 50 countries since March 1.

Peter Madeley

By Peter Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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