Accountability matters.
Justice matters.

TIMELINE OF PPE CONTRACTS

When COVID-19 first swept across the UK, we all braced ourselves for the worst.

But despite repeated warnings, the UK government failed to prepare. Instead, it abandoned thousands of health and social care workers by leaving them without lifesaving PPE.

We are bringing three legal cases in the High Court against the Health Secretary because the government must be forced to answer for their poor decisions and repeated failures. We must never be placed in this situation again; the government must put plans in place to safeguard NHS staff and patients.

Below is a timeline of the events that led to this legal action.
31.12.2019

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is alerted to a new virus by Chinese officials.

24.1.2020

Boris Johnson skips the first Cobra meeting about the virus. 

And he’ll then miss the second, and the third, and the fourth and the fifth.

While Matt Hancock, who did attend the first one, says the risk to the UK is ‘low’.

11.03.2020

The WHO declares a global pandemic.


13.03.2020

Photos and stories of shoddy and makeshift PPE start pouring in from hundreds of UK doctors within the EveryDoctor network. There is growing concern amongst doctors about the safety of NHS staff and patients.


18.03.2020

We go to the press to share the dangers of PPE shortages with the public. 

As one example, this hard-hitting piece from EveryDoctor member Dr Jessica Potter in the New York Times, explains how decades of underfunding have left the NHS and its staff vulnerable to this pandemic.

19.03.2020

EveryDoctor writes to Sir Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England about the shortages of PPE and lack of protections for frontline workers. 

We’re featured on ITV news that night, explaining our concerns for NHS staff and patients. 

There is initially confusion about who is in charge of PPE for the devolved UK nations.


20.03.2020

PPE shortages have been ‘completely resolved’ - according to one senior advisor in the government.

Meanwhile, the British Medical Association (BMA) reports acute PPE shortages across dozens of NHS Trusts across the UK, putting frontline staff at risk.

SOURCE: BMA survey


23.03.2020

The UK finally goes into lockdown.


28.03.2020

Dr Amged El-Hawrani, an Ear, Nose and Throat consultant at University Hospitals of Derby and Burton, becomes the first NHS frontline worker to die after testing positive for coronavirus. 

EveryDoctor scrutinises the discrepancy between WHO PPE guidelines and the UK policy, which we feel isn’t protecting staff and patients. 

At this point, most NHS staff have no PPE eye protection. We launch our PPE petition which captures much media attention and the signatures of over 45,000 staff and supporters.


01.04.2020

We launch our #ProtectNHSWorkers coalition campaign with a 5-point pledge to #ProtectNHSworkers

Thousands of EveryDoctor members and members of the public contact their MPs urging them to sign. Ultimately, a cross-party of 104 MPs is built, who lobby for the 5 key areas.

01.04.2020

We win eye protection for all frontline healthcare workers.

16.04.2020

Al-Jazeera releases a story on inadequate PPE for UK health workers using photos of EveryDoctor members.


16.04.2020

Our first parliamentary briefing for our #ProtectNHSworkers campaign.

We take the facts to MPs. Amongst other things, EveryDoctor explains that over 45% of doctors report not having safe PPE according to WHO guidance.


21.04.2020

It’s revealed by the press that companies experienced in producing PPE, have been trying to contact the government - only to hear “nothing back”.

By now, 80 frontline healthcare workers have died from coronavirus. 

During April, the government issues PPE contracts worth £108 million to PestFix and £252 million to Ayanda Capital. 

PestFix is a small family-run pest control company headquartered in the seaside town of Littlehampton, West Sussex.

Ayanda, a private investment fund based in London, is owned through a tax haven.

Neither have any experience in supplying PPE.

28.04.2020

An Irish sweet manufacturer Clandeboye, is awarded a contract to supply personal protective equipment by the Department of Health.

They’re awarded a second contract on 18th May, worth a total of £108 million.

05.05.2020

As official UK coronavirus deaths reach 30,000, we now have the highest death toll in Europe.

07.05.2020

We run a briefing to share the dangerous shortages and expired, warped, and broken PPE NHS workers face, with MPs.

19.05.2020

The UK has one of the highest healthcare worker death tolls in Europe.

10.06.2020

With our co-claimants Good Law Project, we issue a Pre Action Protocol Letter over the government’s decision to award a PPE contract to PestFix.


29.06.2020

We issue another letter to kickstart a 2nd case over the government’s decision to award a PPE contact to Clandeboye Agencies (the Northern Irish sweet manufacturer).

13.07.2020

We issue a third letter over the government’s decision to award a PPE contract to Ayanda Capital, the hedge fund in Mauritius.


17.11.2020

Our legal cases over PestFix, Ayanda and Clandeboye are granted permission by the courts. 

It’s official - we’ll be bringing the government to court to answer for the awarding of public contracts to three firms at the height of a pandemic, who lacked any evidence of previously supplying PPE.

25.01.2021

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports more than 880 health and social care workers have died after contracting COVID-19.  

This was the last time the ONS released occupational data, meaning the true number today, is likely far higher.

23.02.2021

The government claims that the legal fees associated with the cases would amount to £1 million.

This is a sum unprecedented in our lawyers’ experience of judicial review proceedings. We wonder whether this was an act of intimidation to shut down the court cases, and together with Good Law Project we apply for a cost-capping order. The High Court ruled against the government and agreed to a cost-cap on our legal fees.

18.05.2021

Our trial against the government finally kicks off.

EveryDoctor members Dr Megan Smith (also our Head of Law and Policy) and Dr Ashling Lillis, take to the streets to highlight the start of our court cases in front of a projection of our demands onto NHS England offices in London.


These legal cases are about safety.

The safety of frontline NHS staff, the safety of our patients and the safety of adhering to proper process in the spending of public money. We shouldn’t have needed to enter into hasty PPE contracts at all; we should have been prepared. 

So, as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, what’s the plan Matt?

Demand that he puts robust plans in place to prevent future disasters.

SIGN OUR OPEN LETTER TO MATT HANCOCK →

EveryDoctor has not been alone in drawing attention to the failings of the UK government in protecting NHS workers. A huge thank you to every individual and organisation who has spoken up.

Finally, our incredible members and supporters have grown our movement to over a quarter of a million people. You power everything we do, and we’re thankful for your support every day. 

Exposing the truth. Standing up for NHS workers and patients. We are EveryDoctor.
SUPPORT EVERYDOCTOR