Britain’s ‘crumbling’ pandemic infrastructure wants pressing funding, spending watchdog warns | EUROtoday

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However, the NAO mentioned that the outdated age of the centre’s laboratories can “present challenges with respect to meeting the standards required by licensing bodies such as the Health and Safety Executive”.

This, in flip, “can result in increasing operational and maintenance costs for these buildings,” the watchdog added.

“In the last decade, these highest containment laboratories have been working with at least one known issue for 50 per cent to 60 per cent of the time, although this largely had no impact on service or health and safety.” The NAO didn’t specify the character of those points.

Safety and safety necessities lately at Porton Down have led to elevated funding, with £41 million funnelled into the positioning via the Vaccine Taskforce, which was arrange through the pandemic.

This created 18 new laboratory areas – although these usually are not the highest-level containment specificity which might be crucial to the federal government’s long-term plans for creating the nation’s pandemic response infrastructure.

The mission at Harlow in the meantime stays on maintain. UKHSA and its predecessors have spent greater than £400 million on the positioning as much as the top of October 2023. This is round 75 per cent of the preliminary value estimate that was accredited by the Treasury in 2015.

The largest components of that spend have been on design, income, mission assist and administration, and development prices, at £91 million, £89 million, £76 million and

£66 million respectively, and the £30 million that was spent on buying the positioning.

However, it’s not clear what comes subsequent for the programme, the NAO report mentioned.

“The programme is now at an impasse after UKHSA concluded in 2023 that the Harlow hub cannot be built within the £2 billion that HMT [the Treasury] has indicated it is willing to fund and that the Department of Health & Social Care [DHSC] wants to stick to.

“UKHSA has been asked to explore remaining in Porton Down as an alternative but has consistently assessed Harlow as the best value-for-money option for bringing together and consolidating multiple sites.”