PPE and why Spitfire parallels from Second World War Two should be heeded

From: Philip Bartey, Group Chief Executive, Autism Plus, Sheffield.

The Spitfire was integral to Britian's military response in the Second World War.

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Call up our firms now to make PPE and save NHS lives – The Yorkshire Post says

I AM frankly baffled that the UK is still desperately short of personal protective equipment (PPE).

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It is our Prime Minister, not 
I, that has described this pandemic as a war against a deadly enemy and has, consequently placed the UK on a war footing.

Like PPE, the production of sufficient Spitfires was a major challenge during the Second World War.

This is, indeed, a global war and it is therefore right that we should make some comparisons with the last global war during the 1940s.

The then Prime Minister put Lord Beaverbrook to work immediately in overseeing the production of Spitfires, Hurricanes, tanks and other essential munitions required to fight our deadly enemy.

Beaverbrook turned over car factories and other essential manufacturing business production – and the scale of our production was immensely impressive.

Spitfires, Hurricanes and the like are complex pieces of machinery, not easy to produce but essential to the war effort.

If we contrast the 1940s successful production of Spitfires to now, it is staggering to note that we are unable to produce relatively simple to make gowns, masks, gloves and other essential PPE to supply our hospitals, care homes and other vital services.

Consequently, essential 
front-line staff have lost their lives and continue to be placed at serious risk to themselves, their families and friends. It is a testament to their bravery and courage that they are fighting on regardless.

After some three months of enduring this deadly virus it is only now, in late April, that the Government has appointed a Minister to oversee the vital procurement of PPE. This inaction amounts to a national disgrace.

During the Battle of Britain, we managed to increase the production of Spitfires that helped in turning the tide of the battle in our favour yet sadly we were desperately short of pilots – The Few – who managed to defeat the Luftwaffe and prevent the invasion of our dear country.

We have endured 10 years of running down our social care system to the point where the sector staffing levels are seriously depleted.

Churchill could do little to replace the pilots who lost their lives during the Battle of Britain because we could not source and train them fast enough.

I sense a parallel here, and yet the ability to put this right is within the gift of our Prime Minister and his government. Are they listening?

Editor’s note: first and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.

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