OWGRA's PPE Production Reaches Industrial Scale

Local residents' group needs more funds to maintain supply to NHS

Some of the group's output ready for shipping

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Osterley & Wyke Green Residents' Association ( OWGRA) have already delivered 1,545 visors to Hounslow NHS staff and continue to receive requests from across the NHS in Hounslow.

To help tackle the continuing shortage of PPE they are collaborating in production with other groups covering Surrey and Kent and the Chelsea & Westminster areas respectively, who are also raising funds for their areas.

All production for all three groups is being undertaken by the same group of volunteers. They have used funds from each of the funding groups to ramp up production, and now have 14 3D printers running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week producing visors (all housed in the dining room of their home).

They have now produced and distributed in the region of 20,000 visors for all of these groups. The scale of the production is such that their domestic electricity supplier (Igloo Energy) noticed their dramatically increased electricity consumption and has given a very welcome 3-figure discount off their bill to pay for the additional electricity usage due to the printing.

Procurement of materials continues to need careful attention as they have seen some suppliers trying to increase prices by 5 times, requiring them to swithc suppliers (e.g. in one case it was substantially cheaper to source one order of materials from Belgium rather than use UK suppliers).

They report that the printers continue to be very temperamental (e.g. opening a door which results in a draught of colder air hitting a printer can throw a printer off, resulting in ruined visor frames). So the team producing them are operating in temperatures of up to 30 Celsius at times.

The NHS hospitals in North West London (which includes Hounslow) have now established a coordination group (North West London Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups) This meets every day to assess where the most urgent need is at that time for PPE equipment, and then routes any available supplies accordingly. This covers 400 GP practices, ten hospitals and four mental health and community health trusts across the eight boroughs, and includes those in Hounslow.

Laurence Hawcroft, Vice-Chair of OGGRA says, “We will still cater for any requests made directly to us from Hounslow GPs/clinics, and personal requests from Hounslow NHS staff as and when they contact us - but now most of our production will go to this new coordination group as they are now the route for supplying the likes of the West Middlesex. So we have now started to deliver to them with 200 delivered to them today.

“This still means we are directing our funds to Hounslow. Given that anyone needing specialist treatment will be sent to the nearest hospital (with capacity) that has the required specialist team, this means this group now covers most, if not all, the hospitals a Hounslow resident may be sent to if they need treatment. So supplying this group means we are supplying to most, if not all, hospitals a Hounslow resident may be admitted to. But it does mean we are supplying more, and need to produce and distribute more....

“We have therefore extended this campaign end date another 3 weeks and raised the target, to reflect the heightened demand and longer timescale that we now expect to be operating for. Please do consider donating if you haven't so far. We know from talking to staff we have delivered visors to that it really is making a difference for them. “

If you would like to donate to their efforts the crowdfunding appeal is here.

May 8, 2020

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