Companies including Amazon, the Royal Mint and Jaguar Land Rover have stepped in to support the government’s efforts to get PPE to frontline social care and NHS staff.
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.
The news follows a call to action from the government for UK businesses to use their manufacturing power and expertise to meet the growing demand for protective equipment.
It also comes after Boris Johnson pledged a “massive plan” to ramp up supply during Prime Minister’s questions last week.
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 and Social Care 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.”
The Department of Health and Social Care said the Royal Mint has been contracted to provider over 1.9 million face visors over the next six months, while Jaguar Land Rover is now manufacturing 14,000 visors per week for frontline staff.
A partnership with Amazon is said to allow the government to harness its global sourcing expertise, and eBay has provided a new platform that will allow care providers to order a range of PPE directly, with orders fulfilled by Clipper Logistics and shipped by the Royal Mail.
Meanwhile, 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.
Bolle, which manufactures protective eyewear, will make 6.5 million visors over the course of the pandemic, and DTR Medical will be providing 1.3 million visors, with the first delivery expected next week.