Prime Minister Boris Johnson has given his seal of approval to the PPE manufacturing hub in the north east recently completed by Larnook for the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust.

He was given a tour of the facility by Sarah Rose, project director, and Sir James Mackey, the Trust’s CEO.  The hub, in Seaton Delaval just north of Newcastle upon Tyne, has already produced more than two million surgical gowns and other items of PPE and created 60 full time jobs.

The development was fitted out by Larnook in record time, utilising the company’s project management skills and ability ‘to think around corners’, says managing director Chris Evans.

“This is one of the most satisfying but challenging jobs I’ve ever completed and so to receive the PM’s famous ‘thumbs up’ is very gratifying,” said Evans.

“We had to think around corners on this one, not least because the timescales were so pressing, but we’ve achieved what we set out to do with a very supportive client and I’m delighted with the project’s success.  Domestic PPE manufacturing will remain a mission-critical requirement for the UK for years to come.”

The plant’s managing director, Sarah Rose, said:

“We are always striving to improve what we do and I feel very proud as our hub and the North East are leading the way.  It is a very special initiative to be involved in as I know the difference we are making to those working on the frontline in our incredible NHS.”

The new site will serve three major NHS trusts in north east England, with Larnook given just eight weeks to remove obsolete racking in the former Procter & Gamble facility and replace it with state-of-the-art infrastructure across almost 80,000 square feet of warehousing space.

The scheme involved fitting racking for 5,000 pallets of PPE for distribution to the hospitals of the Northumbria, Gateshead and Newcastle NHS trusts.  Larnook staff also installed three production lines for the manufacture of face masks, gowns and other protective equipment for surgical and nursing staff.

The Seaton Delaval base will now oversee regional inventory manufacture, stock control and distribution under new rules that require hospitals to hold three months’ stock of essential materials.