Staff in PPE

Staff and volunteers produce thousands of protective visors for frontline workers

A team of staff from Salford Royal have helped to design and make thousands of protective visors for colleagues working on the frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the help of local volunteers and staff from across the organisation, those working on the frontline are already benefiting from the equipment with thousands more ready to be distributed to clinical areas in the coming weeks.

The prototype for the visor was created by Dr Glyn Smurthwaite, Consultant Anaesthetist and Dr Stuart Watson, Head of R&D Services in Medical Physics, who agreed the final design concept from home while in self-isolation.

They set out with the initial aim of being able to provide every member of clinical staff with a visor to give them crucial protection whilst caring for patients.

Glyn said: “We knew that staff needed vital face protection to stay safe so we decided we needed to act fast and began producing the visors.

“We sourced foam, plastic, elastic and staples and set up our own little production line at the hospital.

“The biggest issue has been getting the materials we need in the current climate but we have a fantastic team of volunteers helping us. We plan to keep the supply going for as long as it is needed.”

Prawin Samraj, Salford Royal Scientific Engineer, and Stuart spent their own time bending the plastic for the visors and a production line was quickly set up at the hospital to start providing visors rapidly for areas in need.

A team of volunteers completed the first batch of 500 visors and the project was scaled up and to date, more than 28,000 visors have now been made and will be distributed to staff across the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group (NCA), which brings together Salford Royal and Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust.

With support from Tammy Pike, Group Assistant Director Patient/Service User Experience, around 60 volunteers came forward from the local community and Talk-Talk UK offered to open up their building in Cadishead as a Community Volunteer Hub.

Through the incredible collaboration between many individuals and organisations the ‘construction centre’ was set up within a matter of hours.

The visors are now being made by a team of 65 volunteers led by Dave Pike, a local firefighter and former NCA Lead Governor, supported by Tony Prescott from the Hamilton Davies Trust. The volunteers have the ability to make up to 3,000 visors a day.

Dave said: “It’s fantastic to see the community and local organisations pulling together to support our frontline NHS workers, helping to ensure they have this vital equipment which they so desperately need.”

Several kilometres of elastic and approximately 120,000 staples have been used to produce the visors. Salford Royal colleagues Lee Blackman, Theatre Logistics Officer,and Head Stock Controllers Asia Bibi, Katie Jones and Adam Bradley have all helped to coordinate the project and keep the supply chain running.

The Critical Care Unit is one of many frontline areas that have been supplied with the visors. Dr Chris Booth, Intensive Care Consultant, said: This is a brilliant innovation to help with our PPE. The visors give us full face protection during the most hazardous procedures on ICU and ensure our staff are safe during these uncertain times.”

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