Lingerie makers and tattoo parlours join coronavirus PPE campaign

Vital PPE was delivered to a Glasgow care home on Friday.

Where it came from may surprise you: it's part of a large scale, hidden supply.

Volunteers at MedSupply Drive UK are searching for protective equipment far beyond the conventional health supply chain.

They have found more than 200,000 items, often from unlikely places.

PPE has been donated by lingerie firms, an ancient fort, vets, factories, a swimwear firm - and many more unexpected sources.

Those who donated the equipment all had it for use in their normal businesses and organisations - including masks, aprons, gloves and sanitiser.

Lingerie companies and tattoo parlours have donated PPE equipment from their businesses to the NHS. Credit: MedSupplyDrive

The UK-wide quest to find more is being backed by the Confederation of British Surgery, the trade union representing UK surgeons.

All donations are vetted and quality checked, then sent to the front line.

Gillian Higgins, a surgical trainee, who leads Med Supply Drive Scotland; found 10,000 items through cold calling local industry.

She says: "the global supply chain of PPE has turned into something like eBay, with global shortages, countries vying for equipment and shipments from abroad being delayed or diverted."

One jewellery business in London donated 5,500 PPE items, which it normally uses for tattoos and piercings - including 3,600 pairs of protective gloves.

Gillian Higgins, a surgical trainee, who leads Med Supply Drive Scotland. Credit: ITV News

Emma-Louise Clarke, a manger at Astrid & Miyu, told ITV News: "it doesn't have to be huge numbers, it still has a huge benefit in making sure key workers feel safe and secure doing their vital work".

Items already donated across the UK include: 40,523 masks; 70,743 pairs of non-latex gloves; 5,373 FFP2 masks.

The hunt for desperately needed PPE has involved planes flying thousands of miles, with politicians battling to secure supplies from around the world.

Yet there are significant stores of unused protective kit much closer to home.

Any company, individual or organisation that thinks they may have suitable PPE should contact organisers at the Med Supply Drive here.

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