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Northumberland PPE factory produces two million gowns for frontline NHS staff

A PPE factory set up in a Northumberland warehouse during the coronavirus pandemic has already produced two million protective gowns to frontline NHS staff across the North East.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust began the production of gowns in May at its new manufacturing and distribution hub for Personal Protective Equipment in Cramlington.

The factory, which was leased from local firm Wingrove Motor Company, was set up in a bid to beat the PPE supply shortfall in the fight against coronavirus.

The initial aim for the mixture of volunteers and paid workers was to produce around 6,000 gowns a week. In the past six months they have been making gowns, theatre hoods and scrubs, with plans to branch out to add surgical gowns, pillow and caps to the list.

And the trust has now revealed their hard work has led to more than 2.2 million gowns being created and distributed to protect the region’s NHS staff.

Chief executive of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Sir James Mackey, said: “It’s incredible to see how far we have come in such a short space of time since the opening of our Northumbria manufacturing and distribution hub.

“Across this six-month period there has been over 2.2 million gowns produced, which have gone on to help protect our frontline teams here in our trust and across the region from coronavirus.

“The pandemic has undoubtedly proved challenging, but the determination, commitment and resilience of our NHS workforce in our region has been admirable. We’re thankful to everyone who has helped to make this happen.”

The Northumbria Manufacturing and Distribution Hub is part of a wider network of businesses which has grown after the trust asked for help to boost protective gown supplies.

The network now includes dozens of factories and businesses, including John Lewis and Northumbria University.



Machinists sewing PPE for NHS staff across the region

The manufacturing hub has extended its production past its initial three-month period and it is hoped that it will continue beyond the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure a more sustainable and local supply of protective gowns and support for the local economy.

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