The Yorkshire companies creating millions of pieces of PPE for NHS key workers

Millions more visors, face masks and gowns will be delivered to health and care workers treating Covid-19 patients thanks to Yorkshire companies.

Duraweld in Scarborough has won a contract to produce PPE face masks .MD Mark Yeung at the second factory site. Picture: Richard Ponter.

As part of the Government’s Make scheme to use the production power of the UK’s manufacturing sector, three new partnerships have been struck to rapidly produce and deliver more PPE to frontline workers.

The companies are Bluetree Group, based in Wath upon Dearne, near Rotherham in South Yorkshire and Duraweld in Scarborough, North Yorkshire.

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Private White VC, based in Manchester and Glossop, is also signed to to produce PPE.

Health Minister Jo Churchill said: “The response from Northern Powerhouse companies has been phenomenal and I can’t thank them enough for their commitment to the national drive.

“Every health and care worker must have access to PPE and through this national effort we are building more resilient, UK-based supply chains to guarantee an uninterrupted flow to the frontline.

“We have already struck deals with more than 130 UK companies to source or manufacture and deliver millions of items at scale and pace. We will continue to identify further opportunities to get more PPE quickly to where it is needed most.”

"The Government has delivered over 2.9 billion pieces of PPE to the frontline and are working with around 130 new companies, including Royal Mint, Honeywell, Amazon and Royal Mail, to rapidly manufacture or source PPE at scale and pace."

Bluetree Group is the first UK-based company to make Type IIR surgical face masks.

The printing company has overhauled its production process to manufacture 352 million masks at a rate of 1.7 million a day at peak capacity, with the first delivery arriving last month.

Type IIR masks are one of the most commonly used surgical masks in healthcare, have a bacterial filtration system and are splash-resistant to protect users from bodily fluids.

James Kinsella, director of the Bluetree Group, said: “We are proud to be part of the Government’s ‘Make’ initiative to support our incredible NHS by providing a UK manufactured source of Type IIR Surgical Masks.

“With our background in manufacturing and team of skilled machine operators, we were well positioned to join the national drive but need to recognise and thank those who have enabled us to bring the supply online including our dedicated team, suppliers and the Countess of Chester Hospital who supported our product development.”

Duraweld will make 5.2 million visors after previously delivering 75,000 to County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust.

The family-run stationary business has been able to bring all of its staff back from furlough and is hiring extra staff due to the Government contract.

Mark Yeung, Managing Director at Duraweld said: “We are delighted to agree a contract to make 5.2 million Duraweld visors for the Department of Health and Social Care.

“At a time of national need, our team moved with incredible speed to prototype and test the Duraweld visor with front-line Covid-19 workers. We reinvented our business to produce large volumes of a completely new product.

“We operate in an area of high deprivation and winning this contract means safeguarding existing jobs and creating 60 new roles. In these difficult times, this makes a material difference to those individuals, their families and the community.

“We look forward to continuing to work with DHSC to develop a robust UK PPE supply chain, helping the national effort, and creating sustained benefits for the local economy.”