On Sunday, the UK’s total number of hospital deaths linked to coronavirus reached 10,612.
Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers in England which represents hospital trusts, told BBC Breakfast that the number of protective gowns – imported from China – available to NHS staff in some parts of the country has fallen “critically low” in recent days.
Mr Hopson said that the NHS ordered “a whole load of stock” weeks ago, but delays have been caused by the gowns sometimes failing safety tests, while other batches have been mislabelled – meaning the NHS has ended up with additional masks.
He added: “If everything had been flowing exactly as had been ordered and if all of the material had properly passed its safety test, there would not be an issue.
“This is all really hand-to-mouth in terms of gown delivery, and we need to get to a more sustainable supply.”
Mr Johnson had spent a week at St Thomas’ Hospital in London – including three nights in intensive care – where he was being treated for Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
It is unclear whether the prime minister – who is now recuperating at Chequers, his country home in Buckinghamshire – will take part in the lockdown review.
In a video message to the nation recorded after he left hospital, 55-year-old Mr Johnson said it “could have gone either way” as he thanked NHS staff for saving his life.
He singled out two nurses – Jenny McGee from New Zealand and Luis Pitarma from Portugal – for caring for him at his bedside for 48 hours at the most critical time.