Campaigners are appealing for funding, sewers, donated materials, drivers and administrators to help make and distribute 1,000 scrubs to NHS staff at Salford Royal Hospital during the Covid-19 crisis.
But the group dubbed ‘Salford scrubbees’ is already struggling to keep up with demand from other frontline workers desperate for personal protective equipment.
Bethany Scott, a veterinary nurse at Medivet and Salford co-ordinator for MELSH, said: “1,000 scrubs is just a target. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
“I’ve been contacted by GP surgeries, care homes and pharmacies also looking for additional PPE and I’ve had to turn them down.
“With more funding, sewers, delivery drivers and admin support we could support more of those asking for help.”
So far, the group of machinists ‘Salford scrubbees!’ has received support from Irlam Rotary Club, Hamilton Davies Trust, Rachel Robinson interiors, Nettl Deansgate and NOV, process and flow technologies Ltd.
Amazing work done by mother/son duo Rachelle and Frank Cleary. 54 scrubs cut out ready to go to help with current PPE shortage. Thanks to @IrlamRotaryClub & @HamiltonDavies for funding material and cutting machine which has increased productivity 20 fold. #StayHome #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/uLO4PnPEmK
— Rotary Club Irlam (@IrlamRotaryClub) April 19, 2020
The demand for volunteers
Lesley Fair, 43, head of events at Mix group, has been furloughed because of Corona virus. She offered to help Ms Scott, who hasn’t been furloughed and works full time as a veterinary nurse.
Ms Fair said: “I got involved because I wanted to start making. I’ve been making scrubs and chatting with Bethany via messenger to see if there is anything else I could do. Because I think it’s quite challenging to organise a large Facebook group so I offered my help.
“It’s a full time effort when you are a volunteer. You’re trying to do something that you feel is right whilst trying to fit it in with everything you’re doing during the day. She (Bethany) is doing a great job of organising everyone.
“Doctors, nurses, and consultants would normally wear their own clothes to work.
“They’re all people who need scrubs, scrub caps and bags and the hospital doesn’t have enough. The work everyone is doing is a response to that need.”
NHS England said: “There is unprecedented, global demand for personal protective equipment as a result of this pandemic.”
The government’s response to the PPE shortage has seen 875 million items of PPE delivered to NHS trust and social care systems between February 25 and April 18 but still more is needed.
Scrubs are not intended as a form of PPE therefore legally hospitals don’t have to provide scrubs to staff but many including Salford Royal do.
Scrubs, scrub hats and scrub bags
The scrubs made by the volunteers have to adhere to the guidelines listed in the ‘Salford Scrubees!’ page and Ms Scott quality checks the scrubs before they are sent to Salford Royal. Materials such as sheets, pillowcases, and duvet covers can be used to make scrub hats and bags.
A total of 165 scrub tops, 174 scrub trousers, 588 scrub bags, and 344 scrub hats have so far been delivered to Salford Royal.
Ms Fair said: “We need to drop sets and scrubs off to people, we need to pick them up and deliver them to the hospital as well.
“Some people that are sewing are self-isolating, so we then need people willing to do the driving around.
“…admin as well, we need someone to co-ordinate the deliveries and drivers.”
Want to help?
To support the cost of materials, the funding page is here.
To sew, drive or help with admin contact the Salford Scrubees Facebook page if you are in Salford; and the Manchester and East Lancs Scrub Hub or For The Love Of Scrubs via their Facebook pages to find your local group.