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John Lewis re-opens factory to make PPE for NHS

Tom Shearsmith
27 April 2020

John Lewis is to reopen its textiles factory in Lancashire to make 8,000 clinical gowns for the NHS to help protect medical staff treating coronavirus patients.

The factory, which usually sews bespoke blinds, curtains and pillows and duvets will this week begin making the washable clinical gowns for the Northumbria NHS Foundation Trust.

The retailer is also donating over 20,000 metres of cotton fabric from its haberdashery departments and distribution centres to “For the Love of Scrubs” and "Scrubs Glorious Scrubs", groups who now have thousands of members who are making scrubs for the NHS.

British textile firms have said they desperate want to contribute by PPE for the NHS and health facilities, but the government has been slow to take up their offers of help.

Stuart McDonald, Head of Herbert Parkinson said: “We’re all looking forward to re-opening our factory and threading our sewing machines again to play our part in helping the NHS. We expect to be able to produce around 2,000 gowns per week. 

“The fabric we are donating for scrubs could have no better use than to keep people safe. Over the past few weeks we have already donated over 400 metres of fabric to groups making face masks and scrubs for their local hospitals, pharmacies, care homes and communities."

Sir James Mackey, Chief Executive of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust added: “We will be forever grateful for this support from John Lewis which will directly, and positively, impact on our front-line workers and patients, helping to keep them safe. 

“It is clear, we can only tackle the challenges faced through utilising local channels and relationships to do so. We need to embrace with open arms all offers of help and turn these into actions that support our staff and patients.”

Last week the Partnership launched a children’s competition to design a “super-bear”. The top design will be sold at Christmas with 100% of the profits going to the NHS.

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