Not Dyson, FFS!

The UK Government has yet to put a foot right in its handling of the COVID-19 epidemic, and the decision to order 10,000 yet to be invented ventilators from a vacuum cleaner manufacturer while refusing to join the EU procurement effort is almost certainly another misstep on the way to the mother of all Public Inquiries.

If you need to rapidly manufacture a large number of pieces of medical equipment, then you need to do two things: (1) you need to provide (unlimited) support to the existing manufacturers of such equipment to scale up production, and (2) you need some temporary solution that can be constructed with minimal investment and expertise from existing off-the-shelf components (e.g., the OxVent), to tie you over while (1) is ramping up. The one thing (3) you absolutely don't want to do is to set out to invent a completely new solution, and commission it from people with a zero expertise and experience in the highly specialised field.

One doesn't have to be a medical scientist to grasp that pursuing option (3) instead of (2) makes no sense (though, in the interest of full disclosure, I do have a degree in Biomedical Engineering). This is yet another giant gamble, the UK Government yet again basing policy on the most optimistic outcomes. (Or perhaps just BoJo, in his Churchillian self-delusion, on a quest for his 'Spitfire', combined with a dose of Brexiteer cronyism.)

We need to, and can, do better in Scotland. Hopefully the establishment of a separate scientific committee to advise the Scottish Government is a signal that Bute House is, finally, willing to break away from London's inadequate policies, and I hope they will look seriously at the OxVent project.