Scots-based firms to make over a million PPE gowns

More than one million surgical gowns for the NHS are to be jointly-produced by a group of Scots-based firms to ensure that frontline staff get the protective equipment they need.

Doctors and nurses prepare to enter the Covid ward putting on the PPE safety equipment

It comes amid growing concerns over the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for NHS staff.

The Scottish Government has revealed that contracts between NHS Scotland and a number of Scottish-based companies will help strengthen and expand the supply of vital protective gowns in Scotland, securing long-term stock levels.

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Forfar-based Don & Low will supply around 2.8 million square metres of the base material required.

This base material will then be converted into around one million non-sterile gowns by Redwood TTM Ltd and Keela, who are based in Wigan and Glenrothes respectively.

Keela will also work with manufacturers Transcal and Endura, both based in Livingston, to deliver these Scottish supplies.

This contract will supply over half of NHS Scotland’s weekly requirement for non-sterile gowns.

Trade minister Ivan McKee said: “This new supply chain means significant volumes of the PPE gowns used in Scotland can be manufactured in Scotland – thereby helping to protect us from any global supply issues and ensure frontline staff continue to have the protection they need.

“It also demonstrates what can be achieved when the public and private sectors collaborate to tackle the many challenges caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Scottish Government, along with our colleagues at Scottish Enterprise and NHS Scotland, will continue to work with partners across the country to ensure that all frontline health and social care workers have access to the PPE they need.”

Keela and Redwood will initially ramp up production to an output of 20,000 gowns per week, therefore providing NHS Scotland with a steady supply of 40,000 gowns per week. It is estimated this output level represents more than 50 per cent of NHS Scotland’s weekly requirement of 70,000 PPE gowns.

This new supply chain forms part of the Scottish Government’s two-pronged ‘make-and-buy’ strategy to source PPE gowns. It prioritises gowns manufactured in Scotland and will complement the ongoing ‘buy’ activities to ensure that supply continues to meet demand.

The Scottish Government says other supplies of gowns will cover the current demand.

NHS Scotland, in partnership with Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service, developed a design specification for a PPE gown that met NHS Scotland requirements.

The base material and finished gowns have been subjected to rigorous testing to ensure they comply with the relevant material and performance standards.

The deal comes after health secretary Jeane Freeman yesterday complained the UK overseas networks had been told not to assist the Scottish Government and other devolved administrations in securing PPE equipment.

She warned the advice could create a “problem” for the Scottish Government in its efforts to secure protective equipment supplies abroad during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. UK health secretary Matt Hancock is now looking into it.

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