Government urged to fast-track PPE requests as material for 500,000 visors could be sent abroad

  • Words by ITV News Multimedia Producer Charlie Bayliss

Manufacturers have asked the Government provide more clarity to British PPE makers as the row deepens over supplies to the frontline NHS.

One company which has made tens of thousands of visors has told ITV News said it needs to hear back from officials by the end of the month or its vital materials may be shipped abroad.

Jon Tolley, managing director at Prime Group, has used his printing business to make visors since the coronavirus outbreak. He told ITV News he has enough raw material to produce another 500,000 face visors suitable for NHS and other frontline staff.

The Nottingham-based company has already produced visors which have been sold to various NHS Trusts around the country but is waiting to hear from central Government as to whether other Trusts, or care homes and other frontline staff, are in need of visors.

While Mr Tolley understands the pressures Government is facing, his business needs to know whether the stock he has is needed in the UK, otherwise it might be delivered to other countries.

He said: “I understand the government is inundated with calls from suppliers but we need to know by the end of April whether we should go ahead and start making these products."

Global demand for the raw materials in Mr Tolley’s possession is high, but he does not yet know if they are needed in the UK. Companies in Sweden and Latvia have already reached out to him.

He said: “I’ve called various NHS Trusts across the country to see if they are in need of visors. But there are GPs and other frontline services which may also be in need of products. But a single surgery may only need 55 for the month.”

Mr Tolley's firm has already produced visors which met NHS standards. Credit: Twitter/ @primegroup

Mr Tolley said he contacted the Government and is hopeful someone will be in touch so they can be put to use in the UK.

“We want to help and understand the Government is under pressure and we are willing and able to help,” he said.

The Government said it has had offers from more than 8,000 British suppliers who are willing to produce PPE.

At a daily coronavirus press briefing last week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the Government was “accelerating the progress of getting back to all those companies with a substantive response”.

ITV News has contacted the Department for Health for comment.

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