LONDON (Reuters) – The first medical ventilators which Britain has recently ordered from businesses will be ready this weekend and available to the National Health Service next week, as the country seeks to boost capacity in the coronavirus outbreak.
Britain has ordered 10,000 of the breathing machines from a consortium including Ford, Airbus and McLaren with other companies such as vacuum cleaner-maker Dyson also producing their own equivalents.
“This weekend the first thousands of new ventilator devices will roll off the production line and be delivered to the NHS next week,” cabinet office minister Michael Gove told reporters.
“From there they will be rapidly distributed to the front line.”
The first delivery would be of the consortium’s Penlon model, which has been rapidly adapted from existing devices and given regulatory approval. Hundreds more could follow, the government said in a separate statement.
The Daily Mail reported that the first batch would be 30 units. The Cabinet Office, which is co-ordinating procurement, said it could not immediately confirm the size of the first delivery.
On Tuesday, another company, Science Group, said it is negotiating a contract with the government for the production of 10,000 ventilators subject to regulatory approval.
“A working prototype of the Sagentia Ventilator has been produced and 20 trial units are currently in the process of being manufactured,” it said in a statement.
(Reporting by Costas Pitas, Elizabeth Howcroft and William James; writing by Costas Pitas; editing by Estelle Shirbon and Stephen Addison)