The Minister for the Armed Forces has confirmed the Ministry of Defence (MOD) will lend as many of its ventilators as possible to the NHS, as coronavirus concerns continue.
However, James Heappey warned the department will only be able to free up "a small fraction of the number the NHS needs".
He told Forces News reporter, Rosie Laydon, the MOD would "certainly" be making any unrequired ventilators available to the NHS.
In a tweet about the ventilators, Mr Heappey said: "We have 35 in total.
"Not all can be loaned because they’re needed for ops and/or some of the aeromedical repatriation flights we might need to do for critically ill Brits overseas.
"But we’ll certainly be making remainder available to NHS."
Rosie, important clarification: we have 35 in total. Not all can be loaned because they’re needed for ops and/or some of the aeromedical repatriation flights we might need to do for critically ill Brits overseas. But we’ll certainly be making remainder available to NHS— James Heappey MP (@JSHeappey) March 18, 2020
Concerns over the number of ventilators available have been mounting, given the need of the machines to treat some patients suffering with COVID-19.
Access to a ventilator can be crucial for patients unable to breathe on their own.
Government officials are now calling for manufacturers to support the national effort to tackle the virus and support ventilator production.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said the Government is in talks with several companies to try and meet its goal of around 20,000 additional machines as quickly as possible.
The NHS is currently set to procure 12,000 mechanical ventilators, chief executive Sir Simon Stevens has said, in addition to 6,699 adult ventilators and 750 paediatric ventilators that can be repurposed, with 35 more in the MOD.
Cover image: Crown Copyright.