The Sunderland business which stepped in to ease the UK's PPE shortage and is helping make 10,000 visors a day

A Sunderland business is helping the UK’s fight to equip frontline workers with personal protection equipment.

Tuesday, 21st April 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 21st April 2020, 2:33 pm

Three of the UK’s leading print companies, including Precision Printing which has a branch in Sunderland, have joined forces and are using their specialist machinery to manufacture much-needed PPE.

Precision Printing, which has bases in Sunderland and London, Nottingham’s Prime Group and Proco Print at Sheffield are now creating upwards of 10,000 PPE visors a day .

They have also shared their designs with companies in 18 other countries where PPE is also in short supply.

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Staff at Precision Printing making PPE.

The decision by the bespoke print companies to adapt their normal production was led by Prime Group managing director Jon Tolley whose wife is a frontline NHS worker.

He said: “My wife had a shift last week and rang me in the afternoon, deeply concerned as they were running desperately low on PPE, for treating suspected or positive Covid-19 patients.

“She asked me if we could do anything as we use similar materials and the team and I very swiftly worked out that our skills for creating new products quickly, could potentially translate well here.”

The team used an existing visor and reverse engineered it to create their own version, with the prototype tested by clinicians before being given the seal of approval.

Precision Printing staff are hard at working making much-needed supplies of PPE.

Now all three companies are mass producing the visors, which are being delivered to NHS staff across the UK.

Louise Stephenson, Managing Director for Precision Print in the north, said the company jumped at the opportunity to be part of this vital project.

“The fact that the machinery we use has the capability to create the visors means we can hopefully do something really positive to support our NHS staff during these worrying times,” she said.

Precision Printing, which was set up in 1966, employs 200 staff. Past clients have included Durham University, Emirates Durham International Cricket Club, Sunderland football club, Bandai Namco Group, NHS, Subway and Sega.

It supplies products in areas including digital printing and print enhancement.

Jon Bailey, of Sheffield’s Proco Print said: “Keeping our frontline staff protected is one of the most important priorities at present so naturally we jumped at the opportunity to play our part.”

A GoFundMe page has also been launched with a target of £20,000 – with almost £14,000 already raised – to help with the logistics, stocking, purchasing and further trialling of the visors.

On Sunday, April 19, the Government revealed that 72 more people in Sunderland have tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, taking the total to 869.

There was a rise of 280 cases across the North East and the total now stands at 5,395.

NHS England has confirmed a total of 185 patients at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust have sadly died after testing positive for the virus.

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