The RAF plane carrying much needed personal protective equipment (PPE) from Turkey finally touched down at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, in the early hours of today, three days after it was promised.

It is believed that the plane was only carrying half the promised 84 tonnes of equipment as it emerges that ministers ignored private companies’ offers of 16m masks four weeks ago.

The jet is one of three that have been waiting for days for the go-ahead to pick up urgently needed medical equipment, including 400,000 gowns made by Turkish suppliers.

The Government originally expected the consignment would arrive back on Monday this week. No reason has been given for the delay.

Personal protective equipment companies have revealed problems across the supply chain with limited stocks available to pass on to the NHS.

Global demand for this equipment is at unprecedented levels and several countries have placed export bans on the sale of (PPE). While we entered the crisis with a stockpile designed to an outbreak of pandemic influenza the supply chain for PPE was designed to accommodate delivering to 226 NHS trusts.

A number of UK manufacturers are rising to the challenge of (PPE) with a view to starting production to help the government meet its targets.

Amid growing frustration, the Government said it has deployed ‘every resource’ to get its hands on desperately needed PPE supplies.