Ministers will today face criticism over a failure to ensure NHS staff treating coronavirus patients have vital protective equipment as Parliament returns following an extended Easter break.

The Government has insisted “every possible option” is being pursued to secure additional kit but said with unprecedented worldwide demand, the situation was “very challenging”.

It comes as the first of three RAF flights finally left on Monday for Turkey to begin collecting a consignment of personal protective equipment (PPE) including 400,000 surgical gowns.

Some 140,000 gowns had arrived from Burma, but with the NHS using 150,000 a day, the demand on resources remains intense.