Firm behind KFC chicken shortage given Brexit NHS contract

Government ministers have, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, awarded a critical NHS supplies contract to the firm behind the calamitous KFC chicken shortage.

A UK logistics hub in Belgium will rely on the delivery company DHL to transport crucial goods across the Channel, The Mirror has reported.

Early last year, KFC faced a national supply issue after switching to DHL.

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The fast food chain was forced to close hundreds of branches after running out of chicken in a logistics fiasco that caused significant consumer backlash.

A bucket of KFC Extra Crispy fried chicken. Picture: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A Department of Health spokesman said DHL has been used to carry NHS goods across the border for more than ten years.

“This is a misleading comparison – DHL is one of the biggest logistics companies in the world and since 2006 has provided services for a range of products for the NHS,” they said.

The department said the logistics hub was just one of many measures which together will support continued supply of medical products in a no-deal scenario.

But MPs have criticised the decision to use the delivery company to ship potentially life-saving drugs and equipment if the UK bundles out of the EU with no deal.

Whitehall insiders were reported to have said the hub would be one of the ways medical supplies would be transported to the UK.

The goods in questions were reportedly those requested by hospitals on a 24 to 72-hour timescale.

They might include cancer drugs, which require refrigeration.

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Established operation Green MP Caroline Lucas compared the arrangement to the Government’s decision to give a ferry contract to a company with no ships.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling recently made an embarrassing U-turn after the deal faced widespread consternation.

“Has the Government not learnt anything from its blundering decision to hand a ferry contract to a company with no ferries?” Ms Lucas said.

Repeating her comments on Twitter, she said: “The idea that vital medical supplies will be handled by a company incapable of delivering chicken to KFC is truly frightening.

“Ministers must urgently explain why they’re gambling with people’s lives by striking bargain bucket supply deals.”

The MP also brought up the matter during today’s Prime Minister’s Questions, calling it another example of the UK Government’s “bargain bucket supply deals”.

Theresa May told the MP the Government was taking all necessary steps to make sure medicines were accessible.

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DHL said: “DHL Supply Chain has successfully managed the NHS Supply Chain business for the past 12 years, delivering market leading productivity, safety and quality, while consistently surpassing customer targets.

“We have an inherent understanding of the handling required to facilitate this new contract and have partnered with our wider group encompassing Express, Freight and Global Forwarding, who are all market leaders in their respective fields, to ensure successful delivery.”