Firms including Amazon, the Royal Mint and Jaguar Land Rover have stepped in to help the Government provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline health workers.
More than 200 potential manufacturers have been identified and some contracted to make more than 25 million items of PPE and deliver 12 million square metres of fabric to produce items such as gowns, gloves and aprons, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.
The announcement comes amid criticism of the Government’s record on supplying PPE and after 400,000 medical gowns imported from Turkey were impounded after being deemed not good enough for use within the NHS.
The support from businesses who accepted this challenge has been phenomenalMatt Hancock
Companies have been urged to use their manufacturing capabilities to help meet demand for equipment to protect NHS staff and care workers from coronavirus.
Health 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 workers 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 1,000 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 DHSC said the Royal Mint has been contracted to provide more than 1.9 million face visors over the next six months, with 54,000 being delivered a week, while Jaguar Land Rover is manufacturing 14,000 visors a week for healthcare staff.
An Amazon partnership is said to allow the Government to “harness their global sourcing expertise”, while a new eBay platform is designed to allow carers to order PPE.
The DHSC said the companies’ support comes at no extra cost to the taxpayer.
Mr Hancock’s PPE adviser Lord Paul Deighton said: “It’s been fantastic to see so many companies come forward and offer their support for this vital undertaking.
“We are working tirelessly to look at all offers and are currently engaging with over a thousand different companies.
“However, there’s still more that can be done and I encourage any company with the capacity to step up and join the response.
“I look forward to seeing what future partnerships we can produce and what they can bring to the table to get healthcare workers the PPE they need.”