Millions of pieces of personal protective equipment in the UK's stockpile were out of date when coronavirus hit - and thousands more that were hurriedly bought in from a Turkish T-shirt salesman have been declared 'useless'.
Some 200 million articles of PPE had all expired from the national inventory before January 2020, according to stock lists seen by a Channel 4 News investigation.
The report found that over half of all surgical face masks in the national inventory had expired, along with 80% of respirators - 20.9 million respirators from a total of 26.3 million - when coronavirus hit the UK.
The discovery suggests a failure on the part of Public Health England and NHS supply chain management firm, Supply Chain Coordination Limited.
Mehmet Duzen, a former parliamentary candidate and textiles producer, proposed his Istanbul-based company, Selegna Tekstil, as the answer to the UK government's PPE crisis
Faced with a shortage and unable to secure PPE from Chinese suppliers British government turned to alternative sources - ordering 400,000 gowns from a three-month-old T-shirt and tracksuit manufacturing company in Turkey on April 17.
Mehmet Duzen, a former parliamentary candidate and textiles producer, proposed his Istanbul-based company, Selegna Tekstil, as the answer to the UK's PPE crisis after seeing an appeal for supplies, reports The Daily Telegraph.
In an email sent to the Department of Health and Social Care in mid-March Mr Duzen offered to manufacture hospital gowns for UK hospitals - which were to be flown to Britain just weeks later.
An RAF Atlas, believed to be carrying a cargo of PPE is unloaded at Brize Norton, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. Thursday April 23, 2020
Now The Daily Telegraph has revealed that thousands of the protective gowns sit unused in a Heathrow facility, after they were found to be 'useless' against coronavirus.
The company, which was founded by Mr Duzen's sister Naile on January 31, had been producing T-shirts and tracksuits before it made the jump to 'high-grade medical wear'.
On Saturday April 19 the UK's Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick announced the shipment would be arriving the next day.
Speaking at a Downing Street press conference just two days after the order was placed he said: 'Today I can report that a very large consignment of PPE is due to arrive in the UK tomorrow from Turkey, which amounts to 84 tons of PPE and will include, for example, 400,000 gowns – so a very significant additional shipment.'
The discovery suggests a failure on the part of Public Health England and NHS supply chain management firm, Supply Chain Coordination Limited
However the delivery, thought to have cost £300,000, was delayed as Selenga failed to secure an export licence.
Three weeks after the deal was struck pictures of a Royal Air Force plane waiting to be loaded with the supplies at an Istanbul airport raised questions over the efficiency of the delivery.
Speaking to the Financial Times last month Mr Duzen said: 'If it was a normal order, I would have cancelled it. Because there was a misunderstanding and there was no time. How could I supply the goods in one night? We didn't sleep.'
As demand for the gowns in the UK reached a critical level a Turkish government backed firm, Ushas, stepped in with a stopgap delivery of 32,000 gowns, reports The Daily Telegraph.
Soon after this the first shipment of 67,000 gowns was made from Selegna, at which point an immediate halt was put on the rest of the order when officials discovered the gowns did not comply with the strict criteria provided by NHS procurement.
Mr Duzen told the publication that he had not received any complaints about the order from the NHS and claimed: 'The fabric we supplied was