This detective story started with a Facebook appeal from a nursing home in Surrey for Personal Protective Equipment. The home had two patients with confirmed covid19, and two other probable cases, but the staff had no medical gowns.
My wife came up with an idea. She had heard about a recent Panorama documentary investigating PPE shortages, which mentioned a firm that made an offer to supply the NHS, but received no government response. Their product, seemingly unwanted here, had been going out to America. Perhaps if we rang this firm…
We watched the Panorama episode and duly discovered that the company ignored by the UK government, was called TLX Ltd of Bolton. So I picked up the phone and rang TLX. It turned out that TLX make breathable membranes, insulating materials, and fabric for medical gowns, but not the gowns themselves. A helpful TLX receptionist gave me the number of Macdonald and Taylor Ltd of Warrington who they supply with PPE fabric. At Macdonald and Taylor I talked to the production manager who said that there was heavy pressure on supply, but yes he had five boxes of gowns he could courier out over night.
I rang the nursing home, gave them a phone number and contact name at Macdonald and Taylor, who could provide 125 gowns. This sounds a lot, but as these items are single use, does not represent many days supply. At least it was something.
So that’s one example of how PPE is currently being provided for nursing staff in the UK. There must be a better way.