A FIRM that stepped up to help build thousands of much-needed ventilators was turned down by the Government because it failed to meet its standards, the city’s MP has said.

Worcester-based Gtech, which answered an important Government call to help design and build some of the 30,000 required ventilators to deal with an expected flood of coronavirus patients, was told last week its services were no longer required by the government.

City MP Robin Walker said: “My understanding is that, having checked with the Department for Health, Gtech failed the specifications and didn’t quite meet what had been set which is why they weren’t asked to produce any more.”

Gtech owner Nick Grey said his team’s ventilators had not been “snubbed” and he was relieved the government was not forced to use his “rudimentary” designs because the coronavirus crisis was so bad.

He said it would need to be a “big shock” and “real emergency” if Gtech’s rudimentary ventilators were needed by the NHS at this stage.

“It’s good for everybody that they didn’t need the simple option because it would mean we were in a very desperate situation,” he said.

Mr Grey said he had been clear with the government that he could build a simple ventilator within a couple of weeks, but it would only be basic and not meet all of the government’s specifications.

“We told the government that there were large parts of the brief that we couldn’t do,” he said.

“There was a basic option in the brief and a more sophisticated one and what set out to do was the very basics within two weeks. If you need us, great, if you can get something more sophisticated then that is fine as well.”

Mr Walker also said a large number of ventilators had been sourced by the government and the amount available would be increasing “substantially” within the next two weeks.

“I know that Gtech were purposely trying to do something different by using readily available industrial components rather than the usual medical supply chains which are obviously very controlled,” he said.

“I guess the key thing is that when you are dealing with medical equipment it does have to meet a very precise and very exact specification because you are dealing with people’s lives.

Mr Walker said he did not know which areas Gtech had failed in but praised the city firm for its “admirable” effort.

“I think Gtech should still be very much thanked for the efforts they made in order to try and do the right thing and try and help in a very difficult situation.

“I know that one of the things Gtech has done is publicise their method as how they have produced these cheaper ventilators and it may well be that that could help in other countries where they may not necessarily have such a high specification so I still think they will have done some good and they certainly deserve some credit,” Mr Walker said.

The NHS has just over 8,000 ventilators and the government hopes to add a further 8,000 from existing suppliers from home and abroad.

When the call was made, the government said at least another 30,000 ventilators were needed to deal with the increase and potential surge of coronavirus victims as the weeks and months go on.

Gtech boss Nick Grey said the government had managed to find decommissioned ventilators which could be put back into use after sending out the call and had also put a range of social isolation measures in place lessening the need to require Gtech’s ventilators.

He said the government had taken a “common sense approach” and kept the Gtech option on the table whilst it looked for more advanced equipment. He said his team’s ventilator was there as a reliable option if it was needed.

Mr Grey said he did not think Gtech would need to be required to make ventilators for the UK government but other countries around the world may find the designs useful.

“It’s great [the government] did not need that kind of very basic, simple ventilator. If the spread had gone much quicker and they couldn’t find the ventilators, we would have built them, and they would have trialled the basic specification.

“There are other territories around the world that don’t have this kind of availability or the local manufacturing to make them. We have people from all over the world going on our website and having a look at the designs and downloading them.

“Basically, if somebody can’t breathe for themselves this will put the breaths into them at the right oxygen mix and speed.”

The government confirmed last week it had ordered 10,000 ventilators from Dyson to help combat the shortage.

The household appliance firm, famous for manufacturing vacuum cleaners, air purifiers and hand dryers, answered the same government call as Gtech did earlier this month. Dyson, like Gtech, also produced a prototype in less than two weeks and told the government it could be built within a matter of days.

Gtech boss Nick Grey said last Friday the government had told him not to push forward with his firm’s plan to build the much-needed ventilators and halt production, less than a week after getting the green light.

The Gtech-designed ventilator was made entirely from stock and off-the-shelf materials and was driven and controlled entirely from hospital oxygen supply, meaning electricity was not needed.

Mr Grey, who said he was “compelled” to help when he realised there was a genuine need for ventilators, said the design allowed almost any engineering or manufacturing company to build them.

Gtech, which specialises in making cordless vacuum cleaners, electric bikes and garden power tools and based in Brindley Road in Worcester, said it could produce around 100 ventilators a day provided some companies could help make some of the parts.

In a statement, Mr Grey said he had been “overwhelmed” by the support for the ventilator and despite the government and medical groups coordinating the project giving Gtech the go-ahead, he had been informed that he should not go ahead with his plans.

“Everyone involved can be proud that we were ready to respond to the nation needs and start production in such a short time,” he said.

“We will still complete and publish our design as there has been a lot of interest for it from around the world.

“Thanks again for all your support and Gtech stand ready to go into production with your support should they be asked to do so.”

The government’s order is still subject to the ventilators passing strict medical tests but is expected to happen quickly.