Talking Reusable PPE at the House of Lords
When COVID gripped the nation in March 2020 until December 2021 Fashion-Enter Ltd (FEL) was requested to make disposable PPE under contract for the NHS via Private White.
Of course we did our bit! We asked ASOS.com if we could stop with their production and they agreed, so off we went. We changed the flow of the factory, the operations of staff and stopped all other work. Everyone did their bit to support manufacturing 20,000 disposable PPE gowns.
We were paid £2.65 for the work and we think they were sold for around £10 to the NHS. Private White was fantastic to work with and they provided all accessories and packaging. We worked all through COVID, throughout the lockdowns, and driving through the empty roads from Kent to Haringey gave FEL’s CEO a sense of pride.
FEL CEO Jenny Holloway said: “We didn’t know what we were letting ourselves in for but it didn’t matter. It was a call to help the UK and it just felt a great honour to support. But as time went on I began thinking all these disposable gowns are just going to end up in landfill. We made 20,000 a week for approximately 9 months!”
FEL decided to do something about this and developed a state of the art polyester based gown that had an RFID tag inserted into the hem. This therefore tracked the amount of washes the gown could have before it became ineffective. Tap here to read about the reusable PPE garment.
“We we’re so pleased and worked closely with Mike Dinan from the NHS Royal Free Hospital London, to create and trial this revolutionary gown that resulted in each wear being just 20p instead of £10! To me it was a no brainer.
“The trial was successful but then there were no future orders.I couldn’t understand it. Where has all the budget gone? Not only that, what about the support for manufacturing in the UK?”
Tap here to read about the mismanagement of PPE budget.
Jenny continues: “I’m still utterly shocked that Lady Mone has actually behaved in such a greedy and selfish way and I totally believe she should be made to pay back profits to the Government.
“This is why the support from our non exec Chair Lord Young of Norwood Green is so important to us all at FEL.”
Two years and several major blunders later, Lord Young of Norwood Green readdressed the PPE issue and put forward this question at the House of Lords (8th Feb 2023):
What steps they are taking to encourage NHS Trusts to use British made washable PPE garments with RFI tags that can be laundered 70 times instead of single use garments which go to landfill?
It was agreed that reusable PPE does work and that after current stocks of one-use PPE have been used up the government is looking to push forward with domestic production of reusable PPE. This would include incorporating laundry facilities in hospitals and providing staff with up-to-date education and training. Research has shown that reusable PPE saves 180 million per year which could be reinvested elsewhere. The government is looking to achieve net zero targets with new hospitals and the inclusion of reusable PPE is included in that remit.
Fashion-Enter Ltd sincerely hopes that orders for these reusable PPE gowns will be placed, here in the UK, very soon.