Coronavirus: Businesses in South help make PPE for frontline workers

Scientists are developing reusable PPE
Researchers have developed reusable PPE garments Credit: ITV Meridian

Businesses and small firms across the South are helping to make PPE equipment for frontline workers.

Every week, two flights delivering surgical coveralls for the NHS, arrive in Dorset from China. However, with second virus peaks and flare-ups across the world, the demand for PPE continues.

Planes from China land at Bournemouth Airport to deliver surgical coveralls for NHS staff Credit: ITV Meridian

As a chair of a national care company, Iain MacKinnon from the Isle of Wight, said he is familiar with the struggle of getting PPE.

He said: "We deliver about 80,000-90,000 hours of care per week and in that process we use 600,000 pairs of gloves. We're buying 2.5 million pairs of gloves a month."

  • Iain MacKinnon, PPE Exchange:

Iain came up with the idea of matching buyers with suppliers of PPE, via a website.

The system has enabled the sale of over 8 million items of protective equipment.

Iain Mackinnon developed a website to link PPE buyers with suppliers Credit: ITV Meridian

Collier & Robinson in Henley-on-Thames usually make blazers for visiting rowing clubs.

Instead, volunteers are now making reusable scrubs and gowns. More than five thousand items of PPE have been sewn for staff at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.

Meanwhile, a company called Nikwax in East Sussex, have used their laboratory to research whether disposable gowns could be reused.

They found that if the gowns are washed at a low temperature of 30 degrees, they maintain the physical characteristics.

  • Nick Brown, Founder:

The company has also started to make products which are starting to be used by the NHS.

The reusable garments are now able to be washed without the safety of the PPE being compromised.