NHS trust serving Northumberland launches its own PPE production line to supply staff

A health trust which cares for communities across Northumberland is to set up a factory to keep its staff stocked with PPE.

By Fiona Thompson
Wednesday, 22nd April 2020, 8:27 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd April 2020, 8:28 pm

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust will open a factory next week to produce protective gowns and other personal protective equipment (PPE) for front-line health and care staff tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

It will bring together the trust, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, other NHS partners, nearby businesses and organisations to boost supplies of gowns for the trust’s teams but also across the North East and beyond.

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Vital supplies of protective gowns and other PPE equipment for front-line health and care staff are set to be produced after Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. Pictured left to right are: Sir James Mackey, Chief Executive of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Sarah Rose, Paul Dunn, Northumbria Healthcare Finance Director and Josh Parker, Managing Director of Wingrove Motor Company.

The new Cramlington facility, based in a building leased from Wingrove Motor Company, will be staffed with 30 experienced machinists and has the potential to make 7,500 protective gowns a week.

It will run for three months with but could have a long-term future, helping the trust support the local economy, be more self-sufficient and reduce its carbon footprint.

Its network includes Northumbria University's School of Design which is already producing gowns and scrubs from its premises with the help of trust staff and volunteers.

On behalf of local NHS leaders, Sir James Mackey, chief executive of the trust, said: "I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone for their offers of support over recent weeks - the fact we have now have so many organisations and businesses helping us is a real testament to the innovative spirit of this region.

Inside the unit which will be used to create a factory so that more PPE can reach front-line NHS staff.

"We are receiving PPE through the national NHS supply chain but we know there is a huge demand for supplies globally which is a challenge.

“This extra support is vital to keeping stocks flowing as we use thousands of pieces of equipment every day across the region.”

The trust has been advised and supported by volunteers Sarah Rose, managing director at Lucas Jacob Ltd and director of Hobart Rose, and Michael Young as it sets up the facility.

The facility before it was stripped out ready for production of much-needed PPE kit for the NHS.

Businesses and organisations involved so far include Camden Alterations in Whitley Bay; Simply Fabrics in Wallsend; First for Fabrics in Benton; Barbour; Acklington Morpeth; I.G.H. Manufacturing; Ena Shaw; Magic Textiles; May-lean; Northern Clothing Co Ltd; All in One; Permess Re-Cut Solutions Ltd; Hobart Rose and Jeffery Carr in Gateshead.

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Inside the unit after it was emptied ready for the PPE factory to be set up by the NHS and a host of businesses and organisations.

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