'Communication issue': UK missed EU ventilator programme

FILE PHOTO: Gauges to regulate oxygen on a ventilator are seen at a lab run by the University Health Network in Toronto, Ontario, Canada May 24, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s failure to join a European Union procurement programme for ventilators to treat those ill with coronavirus was due to a communications issue, Business Secretary Alok Sharma said.

The email mix up meant that the United Kingdom did not receive an invitation to join the EU procurement process, a British government spokesman said.

“There was an issue in terms of communications so the tendering process on those schemes had already started,” Sharma told BBC radio. “If there are future schemes we will absolutely look to see whether we should be joining them.”

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Kate Holton