Scottish businesses rise to the PPE appeal

A government appeal for businesses to provide protective equipment for frontline workers during the coronavirus outbreak has had a major response from Scottish companies.

By Neil McGrory, Local Democracy Reporter
Monday, 27th April 2020, 4:03 pm
Updated Monday, 27th April 2020, 4:10 pm
More than 1600 offers of support have been made from hand sanitiser to face masks
More than 1600 offers of support have been made from hand sanitiser to face masks

After receiving more than 1600 offers of support, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon praised all who answered the call.

Companies have increased their capacity, introduced new production lines and changed distribution methods to help ensure front line workers get the support they need.

Grangemouth-based chemicals company CalaChem has produced 20,000 litres of hand sanitiser using alcohol provided by Whyte and Mackay, while Stonehaven-based Macphie is bottling and delivering this to the supply chain. An additional 560,000 litres are planned to be produced over the next month.

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In Annan, PPE manufacturers Alpha Solway are producing face masks for the NHS at a rate of 20,000 per day as it works to fulfil an order for 1.1 million masks.

A second charter flight from China to Prestwick Airport saw 11 million face masks delivered along with 100,000 testing kits which were delivered to NHS trusts in Scotland.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Scotland’s health and social care system is facing unprecedented demand, so it’s tremendous to see so many step up to support the national response to Covid-19 and I thank them all for their efforts to deliver what is needed, when it is needed.

“The last few weeks have shown how adaptable and responsive we can be in these challenging times. We have received more than 1,600 offers of support from businesses and individuals, many of them offering to diversify their production lines to support the national response. From these we have been able to secure vital equipment at volume to tackle key manufacturing challenges.

“This morning a second charter flight from China arrived at Prestwick Airport with more PPE and NHS supplies, helping us continue to increase the supply available.

“Protecting staff working on the frontline is an absolute priority and we will continue to do all we can to make health and social care staff feel as safe as possible in their workplace.”

Scottish Enterprise chief executive Steve Dunlop added:  “The pace and agility of Scotland’s business community has been phenomenal. In a short space of time, together we’ve been able to not only source and import supplies in a competitive international market, but also pivot our domestic supply chain and scale up manufacturing here in Scotland to meet the critical needs of the NHS and frontline workers.

“We and our partners continue to assess the evolving picture and ensure Scottish businesses can help build resilience right across the supply chain.”

NHS Scotland procurement director Jim Miller said: “A big part of what we were doing in NHS Scotland procurement is to look at how the money we spend with suppliers can have a positive impact on the Scottish economy. The current emergency has accelerated some of that activity and is helping build a strengthened, more sustainable and high quality supply chain in Scotland.

“We’re working to further progress domestic supply routes around PPE, but what has been achieved in a short space of time is testament to the collaborative efforts and innovative ‘can do’ attitude of Scotland’s business communities coming together.”