The gear was taken off the transport planes and transported to a giant warehouse. When inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive examined the gowns, it was discovered that they were faulty and did not conform to UK standards.
NHS trusts who had been promised the vital PPE were then informed that deliveries had been cancelled.
Despite the fall in coronavirus hospital admissions, NHS workers in many areas are still struggling to access PPE including gowns and masks.
Mark Roscrow, the chairman of the Health Care Supplies Association, which represents NHS procurement teams, said the Turkey shipment had “clearly fallen short” and questioned why Government officials had failed to carry out proper checks before spending taxpayers’ money.
“Something very wrong has happened here,” he told The Telegraph. “It’s not clear to me why we weren’t able to obtain samples in the usual way, and to see that these gowns weren’t fit for purpose.
“We are being told that the people in charge know how to secure this vital equipment on our behalf, but the checks and balances clearly haven’t been applied correctly. This equipment is still desperately needed at the front line, especially as hospitals begin to reopen other services which also require high quality PPE.”
Senior sources have revealed how the “Air Jenrick” delivery was scrambled together at the last minute as pressure grew on ministers to solve the growing PPE crisis.
UK officials had first contacted Selegna, a firm based in Istanbul, around two weeks earlier in response to an emailed offer of help. The final order was signed on Friday April 17, and Mr Jenrick made his promise at the Downing Street press conference a day later.
“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 tonnes of PPE and will include for example, 400,000 gowns – so a very significant additional shipment,” he said.