A MERSEYSIDE company suspended its usual production of healthcare equipment to focus on making face masks for NHS workers battling the coronavirus – and enlisted volunteers from more than 60 Wirral families to help.
Richardsons Healthcare Ltd – recipient of the 2019 Queens Award for Enterprise – has been manufacturing patient support systems from their base in Bootle for over 40 years.
Managing director Michael Gould faced a dilemma when asked if his company could produce the face masks.
He found the answer came from his own community in Wirral. More than 60 families currently in full isolation are making the visors from their homes.
They are now gearing up to manufacture up to 5,000 visors per day.
All profits from the manufacture will be donated back to the NHS.
Members of local community at work on the face masks. Picture supplied by Michael Gould
Michael told the Globe: "The company has made operating table mattresses and accessories for the past 40 years, however orders dried up overnight.
"We were faced with the prospect of needing to furlough our 20 staff.
"One of our customers approached us and asked if we were able to switch production to making the full-face visors required for the NHS.
"The biggest hurdle was the production of such a large quantity required in a very short time".
The firm usually makes class 1 and 2 medical devices to use that knowledge to provide a high-quality product with traceability.
Michael (pictured, above with face mask kits) continued: "via the use of a seven-minute training video produced in house, Richardsons are now gearing up to manufacture up to 5,000 visors per day.
"The staff are continuing to safely work and are not a burden on the state, people are being paid to make the visors and to be able to make a real contribution in the battle against COVID-19.
"Most importantly front line medical staff are getting the personal protective equipment that they so desperately need."