Single Use Surgical, part of Eakin Healthcare Group, has signed a contract to package and sterilise 1.92 million surgical isolation gowns.
The project is well underway, with weekly deliveries into NHS England having already started this month.
The Welsh surgical manufacturer, who usually design and manufacture single-use surgical equipment, is using its knowledge and expertise to provide packaging and ethylene oxide (EO) sterilisation services.
The protective equipment is manufactured by Survitec, a British manufacturer of personal survival equipment who contacted Single Use Surgical in April after hearing about the company’s EO capabilities. The companies established a relationship over Microsoft Teams during lockdown and progressed to dispatching gowns this month.
The partnership will see Single Use Surgical recruit up to 45 people to support the operation over the next year.
Single Use Surgical say the move is a step away from their usual business but welcome the opportunity and the challenge.
Michael Denver, head of international sales and business development, said: “It is an absolute pleasure to engage with Survitec Group and support the national effort for PPE. Due to the time scales involved, we have worked together to complete a year’s worth of work in five weeks. This is a new venture for us, but we were able to leverage our capabilities as a manufacturer of single-use surgical equipment to support the project.
“There is a clear desire to provide our NHS with PPE and other equipment from manufacturers that are based and fully operational within the UK. We have all seen the challenges of importing such equipment and it’s a good reminder of the skills and expertise we have within the medical device sector in the UK.”
The PPE will be manufactured in Survitec’s Birkenhead factory, which has continued to operate during the COVID-19 crisis, supporting the UK’s aerospace and defence industries. This has now been expanded to include a dedicated site for production of these gowns. The company will be hiring over 100 additional workers from the local area to support this work.
Paul Eakin, CEO of Eakin Healthcare Group, said: “In these challenging times, it is important that UK business steps up to support the NHS. We are glad to be partnering with another UK company in Survitec Group to support the provision of PPE. The Eakin Group has remained operational through this crisis and it is a credit to our colleagues who have worked diligently to ensure we are in a position to support this project. We are delighted to be able to contribute to the jobs markets in Cardiff and expect to start recruiting from the middle of June and will continue throughout the process.”