Analysis comment

Tories: “host” of “advanced manufacturing” firms asked to build ventilators. Top advanced manufacturing co: “Not us”

Hancock BS exposed again as he claims he’s been talking to car manufacturers and other engineering manufacturers

The Tories have been caught out again over their handling of the coronavirus crisis, after Health Secretary Matt Hancock claimed the government had been talking to ‘a whole host’ of advanced manufacturing companies about urgently switching their production to make ventilators for the NHS:

Hancock said:

They are relatively complicated pieces of kit, I couldn’t make one, but they’re not so complicated that the advanced manufacturing that this country is so good at now can’t be able to turn its production lines over to.

The thing the NHS needs now more than anything else is more ventilators.

We’ve been talking to a whole host of companies about it and the Prime Minister is hosting a conference call today with them to say very clearly to the nation’s manufacturers, ventilators are the thing that we are going to need, and frankly, right across the world, the demand for them is incredibly high, so it is not possible to produce too many.

So anybody who can should turn production and their engineering minds over to the production of ventilators.

When Hancock spoke to the BBC’s Andrew Marr this morning, he explicitly mentioned car manufacturers as a category of company he’d been talking to:

But when ITV’s Robert Peston contacted Rolls Royce, one of the UK’s biggest and most advanced engineering companies and car producers, the company’s chief executive had heard nothing from the government:

Hancock’s flailing discomfort when asked how ventilators would be staffed was plain.

Is Hancock’s ‘whole host’ in reality such a short list that it doesn’t include the most obvious options? Or doesn’t it exist at all and he’s just making it up as he goes along and hoping nobody will find out? When Hancock claimed he had been talking to supermarket chains about ensuring vital supplies, they outed him and said they’d heard nothing from him.

Either way, it doesn’t include one of the most obvious choices of a company that might be able to allocate manufacturing capacity to producing ventilators in the shortest possible time.

And the government has known since the virus outbreak began in China that it was very likely to reach the UK and threaten lives here.

So why is Boris Johnson only holding his alleged conference call today, weeks after the first UK cases?

The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here for a monthly donation via GoCardless. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.

If you wish to reblog this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.


  1. Someone vomit alll over the ‘orrible lying twunt ffs.

    I expect we’ll hear a token, half-hearted calling-out of it from our impartial media. Then it’ll be forgotten about even quicker than it became news.

    …IF it becomes news.

  2. Last summer, I went down with a lung infection. After a fortnight in our local major ospital, I was packed off home with a small ventilator which I have to use for at least 2/3 hours per day, and more if needed. It isn’t all that complicated. A small electric motor to pump air, timed so it replicates the breathing spaces / speed of a user, an air filter at the base and the ability for it to be “read” by wi-fi at a remote hospital base (not needed for me) It is made by Phillips at Eindhoven in the Netherlands. Easily replicable, I am sure and it would pay for itself by freeing a bed for the local health service.

    1. Ahh but David you are not calculating in the TORY bastard mindset of PROFIT first and how they can look after their mates lining the pockets of them with any tax payers money .The obvious manufacturing site is not one they would consider if it didn’t profit them as a breed or PArty .

      1. David. Seriously, friend. This is not the kind of machine that’s needed in these circumstances. CPAP/BIPAP is an entirely different form of respiratory support from that which is needed for a seriously ill person in imminent danger of multiple organ failure.

    2. The kind of ventilator you had would have, indeed, been a simple type. Of course they are relatively easy to manufacture, even with the rigorous safety checks and calibrations needed to ensure they, do, actually, deliver what they are meant to. But, the kind of ventilator needed for someone acutely and seriously ill is an entirely different matter. they are genuinely complicated bits of technology, and don’t just do ‘breath in, breath out, at a set pressure’. I worked in ICUs for many years, I am well aware of what ventilators do and how they work. The kind needed for a patient with the effects of Corvid-19 that requires ITU will take a considerable amount of time, expertise, and money to manufacture. Those machines are almost hand-built!

      1. pricklyone, would you say that nothing less than an ICU-level ventilator can be of any use whatever, or might a simple home version help a non-critical patient breathe?
        My entirely non-medical experience makes me think there ought to be be some utility in the simpler machines such as those used for sleep apnoea for home use.

        I imagine it might depend on how quickly a serious case can turn critical and on whether the patient him or herself can identify the change soon enough to make that 999 call.
        Given the huge pressure on medics there’s going to be, helping us self-assess our own degree of illness would be worthwhile if there are identifiable stages.

      2. Prickly one. I went under with acute pneumonia, in a coma and with bits of me about to shut down. The apparatus I was put on at hospital was – from memory – not all that different from that given to me on leaving. I suppose one factor shadowing the mind of any health minister / civil servant is the spectre of claims for medical negligence. I do not think a pandemic will stop legal ambulance chasers.

      3. David.
        It may be that you needed that particular kind of ventilation but, without knowing your clinical condition, I can’t comment further than than about it.
        You are talking about CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) which supplies a low, gentle pressure on a continous basis, usually via a tight face mask. This helps keep the end bits of the lungs (alveolii) from collapsing when the patient breathes out, and stops the lungs collapsing or sticking together. It’s common AFTER a serious lung condition, to help ease recovery where full on ventilatory support isn’t necessary.
        In an acute condition, entirely different ventilatory requirements are in play although, I can only guess at those conditions with Covid-19 as I clearly have not looked after this. When our lungs are packing up, it affects every single cell in the body, and other organs can fail, as well as the components of the blood. In these circumstances, we use IPPV (Intermittent Positive Pressure Ventilation) via a tube into the lungs as standard but, there are many variations on this, depending on the situation. Through this means, we can control levels of gases in the blood, as well as manage the size of brain blood vessels, the kidney function, and much more besides (this is not a lecture, I am aware of that!). In short, we use machines that can perform many functions in an instant, often changing paramenters like air flow, inspired pressure, expired pressure, rate of ventilation, mixture of O2 and CO2…need I go on? It’s fast moving and complex. A CPAP machine won’t do that, it is, as you say, a relatively simple bit of kit for a relatively simple condition – which I gather Covid-19 doesn’t manifest as. I understand you might be puzzled as to why it can’t be possible to just use these but, honestly, if it were, that would be happening.

      4. Thanks for the info pricklyone, my question obviously was inspired by the pretty much guaranteed ICU beds shortages to come.
        It seemed to me that however marginally CPAP or CiPPV units might help with less serious cases, if they kept even a small proportion of patients from needing ICU treatment, or even just made them more comfortable in their passing, they’d still be worthwhile.
        If that’s not the case I’ll shut up about it 🙂

  3. These ventilators will have to be manufactured ‘in-house’ GB, rather than @ the end of a ‘just in time supply chain’ from Germany. Not exactly ‘Green’; not exactly ‘Efficient’; not exactly Economic & less globalisation. Local jobs & economies can prosper.

  4. The Government has known for weeks that the main problem is breathing and that ventilators are required in big numbers. Hancock says ‘he’ has 5,000 (he probably means the NHS) but needs ‘many more’. Why on earth wasn’t this problem dealt with weeks ago?! More and more it stinks of Johnson’s “let’s take it on the chin” and get all the bovine masses infected to see what happens?

  5. So if it’s a war time solution that’s needed how about looking at WW2 fund raising? A town or factory would raise money for ‘their’ Spitfire or tank. The same could be done with ventilators. To appease the Secretary of State they could be called ‘Hancocks’ as in Anderson Shelters. It might raise his enthusiasm. We also need to know the Production numbers; how many last week, month, year; how many yesterday? That may cause problems when the numbers are pathetically low so that idea is unlikely to take off. But if we need thousands more ventilators then we need to see them getting knocked out. Production in WW2 was extraordinary BUT it needed an Albert Speer, Beaverbrook or Stalin to drive it. Is Hancock up to it? I find him far too shifty to have faith he’ll save my life.

  6. Paul, in WWII there were engineering shops in side streets among the houses all over the place, but I saw them disappearing as early as the 1960’s. They’ve almost all gone to housing and shopping centres.
    The easy money & Porsches The City offered in the roaring 80’s was so attractive to governments and university leavers the ‘smart money’ stopped bothering with dirty old engineering and smelly old medicine.
    We’re now a nation of undereducated imbeciles and the lack of skills in the workforce and in management is appalling – but Hancock’s an embarrassment to the species.

  7. It is not down to us the joe public to go about finding resourcing and worst of all buying one these ventilators , it makes the assumption everyone who needs one can afford to buy one , but that responsibility lies solely with the GOVT AND JOHNSON . The Tories have for 10 yrs plus fucked up our NHS as they ALWAYS DO when they come to power , see 80 to late 90s NHS on its knees then as now .
    The idiot morons who voted for this shower of shite need to grasp this fact and to hell with Get effing Brexit done ,,,, that will in effect kill you !

    1. A bloody civil war seems a bit OTT in the circumstances. I’m talking about Community Action and there was a lot of that in WW2. You raised funds for an airplane to defend you and your neighbours. It was a spirit not unlike that in Russia at the same time and had a direct link to the landslide Labour victory. Some objected to the fact the Community was buying weapons to kill but Hey! this is a medical device to save life. Sure the Tory bastards starved the NHS for 10 years but to harm ourselves for their failure seems irrational.

      1. Thing is, Paul – We’ve already paid for the NHS.

        Communities paying for their own ventilatiors not only defeats the object, it’ll give the bastards an excuse to flog the existing ones off and use the proceeds for their tax cuts when the crisis is over.

        And then they’ll expect communities to pay for their own gear in future. They almost do now. Everywhere you go there’s ‘fundraisers’ for some sort of vital equipment or other.

  8. How many engineering shops are producing ventilators? Have they expanded production this year? Do they plan to? If they need money for new production lines is HMG going to foot the bill? There is rarely any hard information about these basic questions.

  9. It is at times such as this that the full extent of the treachery that led to successive General Election defeats becomes evident.
    Does anyone doubt that, had the Labour Party been rejuvenated by democratic selection processes at the constituency level and a majority of reform socialists been elected to Parliament-both of which should have flowed naturally from the successive mandates given to Corbyn- this dreadful crisis, not just of health but of the nation’s very meaning, would have been navigated by a government genuinely dedicated to the idea of serving the people.
    It is obscene to watch as Starmer and others of his ilk, seek to collect the wages of their treachery and arrogance, while the fruit of their Blairism, in the form of the demolition/privatisation of the NHS, which no Tory government would have dared to attempt had Milburn et al not cleared the way for them, falls rotting and poisonous. And thousands are condemned to join the million or more victims that Austerity has already claimed.

    1. Marvellous post, Bevin. Simply, marvellously put.

      Well done, and said! I’ll doubt I’ll see a better post this year . (Unless I make it 😜)

      Today’s toerags are getting away with the things that thatcher could only flick herelf off about but never dared try. All because bliarism opened the door for them.

  10. Corruption walked through the door and we welcomed them because they had a posh accent or a good university education.,but they were still “one of us” ….were they ?and what have we in the PLP?

  11. Tories always make things up on the spur of the moment to get themselves out of a tight situation – knowing full well the corrupt mass media will always cover for them.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: