- 12 Jan 2021
Date received: 24 Nov 2020
Date responded: 23 Dec 2020
1) Please disclose all written correspondence between the Scottish Government and NHS National Services Scotland NSS as well as any other Govt body in regard to the company Continuum Scotland Ltd who sourced PPE and equipment for the NHS under Covid-19 legislation.
2) Please provide all correspondence between the Scottish Government and NHS NSS and any other Scottish Govt body where the issue of Eighur Muslim labour in China being used to manufacture PPE was discussed.
1) With respect to your first question, I enclose a copy of the information you requested.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because an exemption under section 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to that information.
To highlight that whilst the Scottish Government provides overarching funding to bodies such as NHS Scotland to enable the delivery of various services, it is NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) that are responsible for national PPE contracts for NHS Scotland. The Scottish Government does not itself directly buy PPE unless required to do so for its own employees.
With regards to the information that we are releasing; the faults in the masks were reported to the supplier at the time and an investigation was carried out. As a precaution, health boards did not issue masks from the affected batches until those further checks were complete. NHS Scotland confirmed at the time that they had ample supplies of Type IIr masks, and health boards were advised on how to replace the stock affected.
2) With respect to your second question, while our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide the information you have requested because an exemption under sections, 30(b)(i) free and frank provision of advice and 30(b)(ii) free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation of FOISA applies to that information. The emails held and covered by these exemptions relate to the formulation of the Scottish Government’s response to enquiries about this issue. The reason why that exemption applies is explained in Annex A.
For your awareness, in response to media enquiries that some masks donated to the NHS were bought from a firm suspected of sourcing masks from factories that use forced labour from China’s Uighur minority, NHS Scotland confirmed that following robust quality control and ethical sourcing checks, the masks were securely destroyed. NHS Scotland’s National Procurement has also confirmed that they have not procured any PPE from the firm in question, either directly or indirectly.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House