NHS and social care staff in the UK are set to receive millions of items of personal protective equipment (PPE) over the coming months thanks to new, innovative collaborations with a number of organisations, the government has announced.
Companies including Amazon, the Royal Mint, Jaguar Land Rover and eBay are supporting the government’s ongoing efforts to get PPE to the hardworking frontline staff, at no additional cost to the taxpayer.
This follows a call to action from the government for UK businesses to use their existing manufacturing power and expertise to meet the growing demand for protective equipment.
More than 200 potential manufacturers have been identified and many have been contracted to make over 25 million items of PPE and deliver 12 million square metres of PPE fabric to produce items like gowns, gloves and aprons.
Deliveries have already started, including contracts for 2.5 million aprons and 50,000 bottles of hand sanitiser a week. Firms will be supported through the regulatory, testing and procurement process in less than a month to get PPE to the frontline as quickly as possible.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:
“In continuing to tackle this global pandemic we outlined the need for a great national effort to ensure our frontline NHS and social care continue to have all the equipment they need.
“The support from businesses who accepted this challenge has been phenomenal.
“International demand for PPE has never been so high, and we are now working with over 1000 businesses and establishing a British manufacturing base, which will see tens of millions of extra items of PPE delivered to the frontline in coming weeks alone.
“I want to thank Lord Deighton for his work leading this national effort, and everyone who has stepped up to the plate.”
Lord Paul Deighton, advisor to the Secretary of State on PPE said:
“It’s been fantastic to see so many companies come forward and offer their support for this vital undertaking. We are working tirelessly to look at all offers and are currently engaging with over a thousand different companies.
“However, there’s still more that can be done and I encourage any company with the capacity to step up and join the response. I look forward to seeing what future partnerships we can produce and what they can bring to the table to get healthcare workers the PPE they need.”
Examples of some of the support that has been accepted includes:
- The Royal Mint will be providing over 1.9 million face visors over the next six months, with 54,000 being delivered a week;
- A partnership with Amazon allows us to harness their global sourcing expertise;
- eBay has provided a new platform, jointly developed with Clipper Logistics, that will allow primary, social, and community care providers to order from a range of PPE directly – the orders are then fulfilled by Clipper and shipped directly via Royal Mail;
- Survitec, a survival technology company, will begin producing gowns as soon as the beginning of June;
- DTR Medical will be providing 1.3 million visors, with the first delivery expected next week;
- Bolle, who manufacture protective eyewear, will make 6.5 million visors over the course of the pandemic;
- Jaguar Land Rover is now manufacturing 14,000 visors a week for healthcare staff;
- Don & Low will be manufacturing 12 million metres squared of fabric for gowns over the next six months, with the first delivery expected later this month;
- Burberry is manufacturing non-surgical gowns at its factory in Castleford and sourcing masks through its supply chain. To date, the company has donated over 100,000 pieces of PPE to the NHS and healthcare charities.
- Ineos is delivering around 50,000 bottles of hand sanitiser a week to NHS hospitals
The partnerships will help to bolster existing measures the government has implemented to increase the supply of PPE to the NHS and social care sector, as set out in the government’s national PPE plan published in April. This includes the creation of a PPE distribution network with the NHS, industry and armed forces, and a 24-hour NHS-run helpline to report any shortage of supplies.
These collaborations are only the latest in a growing list of successful partnerships with companies across the UK and the world since the beginning of this crisis.