Michelle Mone, the founder of the lingerie brand Ultimo, has come under scrutiny for her personal protective equipment (PPE) firm, which has been accused of supplying substandard equipment to the National Health Service (NHS) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The allegations were made by the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, which has been investigating the government’s procurement of PPE during the pandemic. The committee found that Mone’s firm, called MJM International, had supplied the NHS with gowns that did not meet the required safety standards.
The committee also raised concerns about the transparency of the procurement process, noting that MJM International had been awarded contracts without going through the usual competitive tendering process. The committee called for greater transparency and accountability in the procurement of PPE.
Mone has defended her firm’s record, saying that it had supplied over 10 million items of PPE to the NHS and had received positive feedback from healthcare workers. She also denied any wrongdoing, saying that her firm had followed all the necessary regulations and had been audited by the NHS.
However, the allegations have raised questions about the government’s handling of the PPE procurement process and the role of private companies in supplying essential equipment during a public health crisis. Critics have accused the government of prioritizing speed over quality in its procurement process, leading to the purchase of substandard equipment.
The controversy surrounding MJM International is just one example of the challenges faced by the government in procuring PPE during the pandemic. With the virus still spreading and the threat of future pandemics looming, it is clear that greater transparency and accountability are needed in the procurement process to ensure that healthcare workers have access to the equipment they need to stay safe.