An NHS senior official in a London hospital created a business to sell large amounts of personal protective equipment during the coronavirus outbreak, a Guardian investigation found.
The NHS is now investigating David Singleton, who works at Nightingale hospital in London, according to the Guardian.
The company, Sure Stock, was created by David Singleton on April 15 and was originally registered to his home address, the outlet reported. It did not mention Singleton or his role with the NHS as it marketed PPE to both private buyers and others in the NHS, the Guardian reported.
The site that offered PPE for “medical, dental, adult social care, the food industry, and personal use.”
An undercover reporter with the Guardian posed as a potential customer, and during the call “Singleton confirmed he was running the business. He said he was trading as a ‘sales agent’ between suppliers and buyers of PPE,” the Guardian wrote.
The NHS has been facing a shortage of PPE since early in the pandemic. At one point, doctors threatened to quit if they didn’t get proper protective equipment, Business Insider previously reported. In another incident, three nurses who had to wear trash bags instead of PPE ended up testing positive for the coronavirus.
The reporter posed as an agent for a meat processing factory in need of large amounts of PPE for 800 employees.
According to the Guardian, Singleton told an undercover reporter that he was “currently an NHS employee,” but did not buy any products.
“I deliver services,” Singleton told the undercover Guardian reporter. “So none of the suppliers that I’m working with do I have any interactions with during my day job.”
He later told the Guardian in a statement that he wasn’t tasked with helping find a solution to PPE shortages and that his jobs did not involve getting those products. However, the Guardian was able to gather information including some from internal NHS emails that suggest “Singleton may have been involved in procuring PPE supplies.”
The NHS has launched an investigation.
“We take any potential conflicts of interest extremely seriously and as soon we became aware of these allegations an internal investigation was started,” a spokesperson told the Guardian.
Singleton told the Guardian “he disclosed his business to superiors in the NHS, in accordance with the rules, and was told there was ‘unlikely to be a conflict.'”