Health trust wins national award for its PPE factory
Efforts to make vital personal protective equipment during the Covid pandemic have helped a trust win a national award.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has taken home the award for ‘NHS Procurement Transformation’ at this year’s NHS in the North Excellence in Supply awards.
The trust was awarded for its Manufacturing and Innovation Hub, based in Seaton Delaval, which produces personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies for health care services.
The specialist Northern award celebrates the development of inspirational collaborations between the health service and its suppliers across the North of England – many prompted by the fight against COVID-19.
The project has been a huge success with the trust purchasing a bigger site – 40,000 sq/m – to run the operation from and passed its two millionth gown milestone at the end of 2020.
The opening of the factory has also made a huge contribution to local economy too – offering over 60 new jobs to local communities plus ten apprenticeship opportunities.
Sarah Rose, Divisional Director of the Manufacturing and Innovation Hub, said: “Lending my expertise to this NHS led innovation has been incredibly rewarding.
"We have worked hard to ensure that all products go through rigorous testing, applying the ‘outstanding’ ethos to our production activities too.
"It’s fantastic to see machinists being given a platform to showcase their skills, contributing to the regional fight against COVID-19 at a time when many were at home, out of work.
"It really has been a team effort and I am thrilled that we have won such a prestigious award.”
Sir James Mackey, trust Chief Executive, said: "One of the big things that sticks in my memory is the last conversation I had on Maundy Thursday with a national colleague about the problems we were having with gown production.
"[I remember] leaving the call thinking: 'I've never really had a situation where we didn't have the supplies that we need.'
"And so, in a true Northumbrian, North-Eastern way, colleagues here mobilised efforts working with a local fabric and textile expert, to open the PPE production factory.
“This award recognises the huge efforts of all involved, in bringing about a solution that is not just limited to our response to the pandemic but is part of our strategy to future proof our service.”