British-made ventilators to be available for the NHS from next week, Michael Gove reveals
Michael Gove in Downing Street
The first of thousands of new British-made ventilators will be available for use in UK hospitals from next week, it has been announced.
Michael Gove hailed the "dedication and ingenuity" of manufacturers like Rolls Royce and Dyson for getting them off the production line so quickly.
They will then be "rapidly distributed" to hospitals around the country to help save the lives of seriously-ill Covid-19 sufferers.
Mr Gove said there were currently just over 8,000 ventilators being used by the NHS, with more being bought from abroad, including the European Union.
He added: "Before the epidemic struck, we had very little domestic manufacture of ventilators.
"But now thanks to the dedication of existing medical supply companies and the ingenuity of our manufacturing base, we have existing models being produced in significantly greater numbers and new models coming on stream.
"Orders have been placed with consortia led by Ford, Airbus, the Formula One racing teams including Maclaren, GKN aerospace, and Rolls Royce and Dysons.
"And I can announce that this weekend the first of thousands of new ventilator devices will roll off the production line and be delivered to the NHS next week. From there they will be rapidly distributed to the frontline."
In addition, so-called "CPAP" oxygen machines are also being rapidly developed to help coronavirus sufferers before they become gravely ill.
Mr Gove said: "A team led by UCL [University College London] working with Mercedes Benz will produce 10,000 new CPAP devices to support affected patients. And a team from Oxford University are also developing related technology.
"And in our determination to prevent as many patients as possible seeing their condition worsen, we are conducting clinical trials on those drugs, including anti-malarials, which may be able to reduce the impact of Covd-19 on those affected."
Mr Gove spoke out as the latest figures from the Department of Health revealed the largest daily rise in the number of UK deaths from Covid-19.
A total of 1,789 people have now died from the illness, an increase of 393 on the previous 24 hours.