‘I’m in awe of the work that has taken place across our community over the last month, says Tony Ryan
Teachers have produced 200,000 pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) for clinicians working on the frontline.
Earlier this month, hundreds of technology and design teachers returned to the classroom to make free PPE in a bid to alleviate waning national stocks.
With help from the Design and Technology Association (DTA), teachers from across the UK have been using 3D printing technology, laser cutters and moulding machines to create goggles, visors, scrubs, masks and other vital equipment.
On Monday, the initiative – made up of teachers, local businesses and design companies from Coventry, Lincolnshire, Swansea, Norfolk, Kent and Devizes – reached their target of making 200,00 pieces of PPE.
“I’m in awe of the work that has taken place across our community over the last month,” said Tony Ryan, DTA CEO.
“We have seen innovation and a sense of the difference that a community working to a common purpose can make.
“I think I speak for all Design and Technology teachers in stating that we are all pleased to be making a small difference in the best way we know how.”
PPE equipment usually needs a registered CE mark (compliant with EU safety regulations) to be officially approved by by the NHS.
However, due to the ongoing crisis in PPE provision, NHS Trust managers have been given discretion on whether or not they use CE accredited equipment.
To make up for shortages, many trusts have been turning to local schools and businesses to help plug the gap.
One school in Hertfordshire has been producing 400 units of PPE per day following a request from Watford General Hospital, where three medics have died with the virus.
On Tuesday, health secretary Matt Hancock said the government was focused on resolving PPE issues.
“We have been moving heaven and earth” to get sufficient PPE to the frontline in a “mammoth effort”, said Mr Hancock.