Scottish Labour has accused Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP government of “short-changing key workers” by providing health staff with “out-of-date” personal protective equipment while dealing with the Covid-19 crisis.
Opposition party leader Richard Leonard asked the Scottish government in late October for information on how many PPE items had seen their expiry dates changed since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.
The answer to the written parliamentary question by SNP health lead Jeane Freeman revealed that over 1.7 million respirators made by multinational 3M had their expiry dates changed by five years from 2016 to 2021.
The response also allowed the public to know that more than 106,000 FFP3 respirators made by Alpha Solway had their expiry dates changed yet more significantly, by nine years from 2012 to – once again – 2021.
The cabinet member for health qualified the answer by explaining that “extending the shelf-life of masks is standard practice to ensure supply of critical equipment to frontline staff during crises” and the PPE is tested.