Anne-Marie Trevelyan, MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed, paid a visit to the new PPE factory at Seaton Delaval at the invitation of Sir James Mackey, Chief Executive of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.
Production has moved to a larger facility creating an additional 60 jobs for local people. Anne-Marie was met by Sarah Rose, a local textile industry expert and Paul Dunn, Executive Director of Finance for the NHS Trust.
Anne-Marie was given a tour of the factory where she was able to meet and talk to staff about their work. Later she met with Sir James Mackey and Claire Riley, (Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs at the Trust) to discuss PPE supply in the north east, which is holding up well, thanks to local supplies.
Anne-Marie said “I was delighted to be here today to see for myself the Trust’s new expanded facility for producing PPE. This is a great example of our Trust leading the way to boost domestic supply of PPE and reducing our reliance on overseas producers. I was particularly pleased to hear the new factory has created a further 60 jobs for local people and will provide an opportunity for up to 10 apprenticeships encouraging young people to explore a career in manufacturing.
“I saw the machinists busy at work producing isolation gowns, scrubs, theatre hoods, masks and theatre hats which was amazing. The Trust should be congratulated on this innovative venture which I’m sure will set a benchmark for other trusts to follow.”
The factory now has sewing machines capable of creating sealed seams, meaning they can produce theatre-quality PPE gowns. Anne-Marie was invited to try the machines, and made a pair of sleeves for a theatre gown.
The Northumberland-based factory also houses a distribution hub, and has created over 2 million gowns which has supplied not only Northumberland, but the north east as a whole.