Hundreds of West Midlands businesses answer plea for PPE

The campaign seeks to unearth extra capacity in the region to meet shortages amongst non-NHS frontline workers fighting coronavirus.

A call to arms for the region’s businesses to step up and produce or donate protective clothing for those on the coronavirus frontline has been met with an overwhelming response.

More than 367 companies have so far responded to the call for medical grade Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), which only went out from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) last week.

It emerged on Friday (17 April) that 13 firms, including plastics and aerospace companies who have never made PPE gear before, have now been approved as having the potential to start manufacturing the potentially life-saving kit.

A further 57 existing suppliers of PPE have also come forward and been put in contact with the region’s local councils, many of which have been struggling to secure enough equipment for frontline staff such as care home workers and refuse collectors.

As well as public sector workers, other organisations, such as undertakers, continue to report shortages across the West Midlands which is the biggest regional hotspot for coronavirus outside London.

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street praised the response from businesses both small and large as “incredible”, adding that it “once again shows the calibre and innovation of West Midlands industry.”

“It is another example of how our region is pulling together in this crisis and the willingness of individuals and businesses to step up and join the fight against coronavirus”, said the Mayor.

“I would also like to thank all those smaller businesses like nail salons and building companies who have come forward with offers to donate their surplus PPE.”

In launching the initiative last week, the WMCA stressed that the campaign was not about diverting existing supplies but about unearthing extra capacity in the region to meet shortages amongst non-NHS frontline workers and in particular care home workers.

Companies can register their interest by emailing ppe@westmids.org.uk with their company details.

Vital supplies can then, as required, be procured and allocated by local authorities and private community-based organisations who support and care for vulnerable and unwell people across the West Midlands.

Items needed include: Type IIR/FFP2/FFP3 Facemasks, disposable sleeveless aprons, disposable aprons with sleeves, disposable Nitrile gloves, goggles and hand sanitiser.