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Duraweld Ltd provides PPE to CDDFT

Duraweld PPE

When Stu Carter got a call from him wife one Friday afternoon at the end of March, he thought it was probably just to catch up on what time she was leaving work.  Little did he know that before the end of the day, as operations manager for a Scarborough based manufacturing company, he would be offering to turn over their workforce and production capacity to making much needed PPE - personal protective clothing - to protect NHS staff against Covid-19.  Stu carter

Stu explains, "The business I work for, Duraweld Ltd, usually makes plastic stationary products such as vinyl folders, plastic pouches, A4 binders etc.  When the Coronavirus lockdown was announced, we initially continued production, albeit with a slimmed-down workforce to maintain their safety, however, we knew demand for our products would be much reduced at least in the short term. 

"My wife, Emma, is head of assurance & compliance at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust and I knew they'd been pulling out all the stops preparing for the pandemic.    When she rang me at 4.15pm on the afternoon of Friday 27 March, Emma got straight to the point, saying, "Stu, do you think you could produce visors for our staff to wear as part of their PPE?" Knowing the huge efforts the Trust were making we were really keen to support them, so our production team immediately identified three possible visor designs online. We used a computer design package to mock up all three and had prototypes ready by 5.00pm. 

"On the morning of Sunday 29 March, I met with Noel Scanlon, the Trust's executive director of nursing, at Darlington Memorial Hospital.  Noel asked some of the clinical teams to test the three visors to identify the safest and most appropriate design.  That afternoon, back at our Scarborough site, we quickly placed an urgent order for materials and began production with existing stock.  By Tuesday 31 March, we'd made and delivered 600 visors.  Over the following fortnight we supplied the Trust with 75,000 visors. The design also evolved twice during that time, based on feedback from staff and because we were working closely with the key decision-makers we were able to adapt the design very quickly to meet their needs. 

"Our staff have been amazing, working day shifts, night shifts and over the Easter Bank Holiday.  We're so proud of them, we're all so pleased to be helping the NHS by supplying the visors at cost and we're now also making them for other trusts.    For all of us, it's been much more about being able to play a part in the current emergency and, for me personally, it's also been about supporting Emma and her colleagues as they face this enormous challenge.  It's been a privilege and very humbling to be involved. 

Noel Scanlon, said, "We're sourcing PPE through the national supply chain but, given the likelihood of an unprecedented and to an extent unpredictable demand for equipment it made sense to look for additional sources. Having a local supplier like Duraweld meeting our need for visors, a key item of PPE, producing a quality product with such speed, has been incredibly helpful.  To say Stu and his colleagues stepped up would be an understatement.  We've been very lucky to have found them and to have also benefited from the generosity and thoughtfulness of local educational establishments and businesses who have donated supplies from their science and other departments, such as goggles and disposable aprons and gloves.  It really does feel as though local communities are right behind us."   


Published 7th May 2020

'The treatment I have received from all the staff has been excellent and could you extend my thanks to them all. A very thankful and relieved patient'.

Patient, Dermatology Outpatients Department, University Hospital of North Durham