July 5, 2020 / 7:04 PM / a month ago

British consortium ends after making over 13,000 ventilators

LONDON (Reuters) - A British consortium formed by a group of aerospace, automotive and engineering firms to build ventilators for the country’s health service said on Sunday it would end after delivering over 13,000 devices.

VentilatorChallengeUK said its production had more than doubled the stock of ventilators available for use in the National Health Service.

The consortium, which was formed on a not-for-profit basis by the likes of Ford (F.N), McLaren, Rolls-Royce (RR.L) and Airbus (AIR.PA), said in May it was ramping up production in case of a second peak in infections.

But Dick Elsy, Chairman of VentilatorChallengeUK, said the NHS was now well-placed for the future.

“We have helped ensure the NHS has always had access to the number of ventilators it needs, and we’re pleased to have also contributed to building a resilient stock should ventilators be required in the UK in the future,” he said.

Britain sought to “protect the NHS” during its coronavirus lockdown by working to flatten the curve of infections so the health service was not overwhelmed.

The availability of ventilators in the NHS had been a hot political topic as the epidemic started, but the demand for the machines never got close to the 30,000 figures initially estimated as being required.

The government has said that everyone who needed a ventilator during the pandemic has had access to one.

“The Ventilator Challenge has been a great success,” Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said.

“I would like to thank every manufacturer and designer, and their incredible workforces, for the huge part they’ve played in the national effort to protect our NHS and save lives.”

Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Jan Harvey

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