A SAFETY equipment firm which revealed it had been told by the UK Government not to send stock to care homes in Scotland and Wales has confirmed this instruction.

Gompels posted a message on its website saying it could only send the kit to care homes and agencies looking after the elderly in their own homes after receiving advice from Public Health England.

The revelation provoked anger in Scotland and Wales, and was dismissed as “rubbish” yesterday by Professor Jason Leitch.

Asked about the concerns raised by umbrella body Scottish Care, the national clinical director said: “We have looked into it and we think it’s rubbish.

“So, the companies and our colleagues at NHS England yesterday, when we spoke to them, said it wasn’t true.”

But as of yesterday, as the controversy escalated, Gompels has updated its website – and repeated that the decision not to allow sales to Scotland and Wales was not made by the company.

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They wrote: “These restrictions are not something we have decided, they are a criteria given to us by Public Health England.

“We have been told that there are alternative arrangements in place for Wales and Scotland, but we have not been able to find out what they are.

“The criteria was given to us by Public Health England @PHE_uk. Please don’t think we’re discriminating against our lovely, loyal Welsh/Scottish customers.”

The issue dominated the First Minister’s daily press briefing on the coronavirus.

Asked by The National whether she had contacted the PPE companies to say they could supply Scottish care homes and care agencies, Nicola Sturgeon said this discussion would take place.

“I have not had those conversations. I said a moment ago discussions around this issue would take place in National Services Scotland, the national procurement agency for the health service,” she said.

“We are still trying to understand and find out the detail about some of the reports, the statements made, around this and we will take whatever action we think is necessary and appropriate to try and resolve the issue in the interest of proper PPE supplies to Scotland.”

The First Minister was also asked about Professor Leitch’s comments saying the reports were rubbish, and whether he was wrong to dismiss them.

She responded that at the time Professor Leitch was speaking, the Scottish Government had no evidence of the situation set out in the reports.

She added that the issue of the virus in care homes was a huge concern.

Last week she said families should not be be taking loved ones out of care homes.

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