Wearwell Appointed to Supply PPE to Birmingham Hospitals


By Ross Gard, from Wearwell.

Wearwell has been selected by University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) to produce and supply surgical gowns to Birmingham-area hospitals.

The gowns will be delivered to The Birmingham Hospitals Alliance (BHA), which looks after UHB, Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Hospital, which collectively use around 100,000 surgical gowns per week at present.

The contract win came about after BHA’s central procurement team realised it was unable to continue relying on international suppliers and the central supply chain. It took matters into its own hands to form a working group and selected Wearwell and one other local manufacturer to produce and supply up to 25,000 high quality surgical gowns per week for NHS Trust use. The gowns will be used as both PPE and for use in operating theatres.

Wearwell was selected by the working group, formed by UHB, the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and West Midlands Academic Health Science Network, working with MedilinkWM.

CEO Richard Wright said, “We are very pleased, as a local manufacturer, to be able to supply vital supplies to our local NHS hospitals and support the UHB as it works to diversify its supply chain and build resilience. At present, we’re committed to supplying 10,000 gowns per week and have invested in new machinery and created additional capacity in our Tamworth factory to ensure that we can exceed that volume in coming weeks as needed in order to help the hospitals prepare for the upcoming winter and mitigate against any shortages.”

Dr David Rosser, Chief Executive of UHB, said: “These efforts allow us to build up our resilience as we move into Phase 2 of the Trust’s response to Covid-19 in which we are learning from the past few months, preparing for a potential second wave and carefully reopening our surgical capabilities.

“We have been very fortunate that our procurement team have been successful in obtaining PPE during this time despite national shortages, and we have also received many kind donations.

“However, we have been too reliant on the international market and central supply centre. We do not want to be in a position where the region is struggling to obtain supplies of PPE again, especially when we enter the winter months and the pressure on the NHS increases dramatically.

“This working group will allow us build and maintain our resilience as a health service, have oversight over the quality of PPE supplied to us and continue to work with and support our local businesses.”