A Leeds healthcare manufacturer is supplying equipment to the new emergency hospital being created in London.
Staff at Herida Healthcare are working around the clock to make thousands of specialist mattresses, with the initial delivery to the hospital at the Excel today (Friday 27th).
The air-pump mattresses are designed to reduce the chance of patients developing bed sores and are usually sold to NHS trusts and long-term care homes across the UK and abroad.
Company founder Neil Smith said everyone at the company wanted to help the NHS as much as they could.
“While we all really appreciate the work the NHS does at its centre, the response to Covid-19 needs a chain of suppliers who provide critical links. This includes delivery drivers taking it there, packers, mattress welders, cutters, administrative staff working from home and all others in between.
“Our staff are working so hard and we are all a bit exhausted as we have turned this round in 72 hours, but morale is very high as they are so proud to take part.”
The new hospital at the Excel conference centre in London’s Docklands will initially have 500 beds, rising to 4,000 to cope with the expected increase in Covid-19 patients. Military personnel have been involved in setting up the new facility, which will be called the Nightingale Hospital.
Staff at Herida Healthcare are working shifts over 24 hours to fulfil the initial order, with more orders coming in. All staff are wearing PPE and carrying out social distancing.
The company was only set up in 2016 but has grown rapidly with help from organisations such as Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Leeds City Council, and AD:VENTURE, which provides support for new businesses in North and West Yorkshire funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
It has 42 staff and expanded into a new 30,000 sq ft factory in Morley only a few months ago.
Leader of Leeds City Council Cllr Judith Blake said: “This is great news for Herida Healthcare and I am really proud to see a local up-and-coming company doing its bit to help the national effort.
“UK manufacturing will be a crucial part of tackling this crisis and it shows how the whole country is pulling together to help each other in a time of need.”
Roger Marsh OBE, Deputy Lieutenant and chair of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and NP11, said: “The swift response by Herida Healthcare to this national call for such an urgent national need is real testament to the region’s manufacturing capability. They are just one of many local businesses who are fundamentally changing their operations to assist at this difficult time, and we must all thank all of those smart people who are driving forward solutions for the national effort.”