Published on: 5 May 2020

Skilled engineers at Toyota in Burnaston have worked with universities to turn their talents to the design and manufacture of new PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) for healthcare staff in Derbyshire.Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust - Toyota and Loughborough Uni....jpg

Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has taken delivery of 1,000 prototype plastic face shields. Reusable plastic visors or face shields are a key part of the PPE kit that healthcare staff are using when they are caring for service users with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

Richard Morrow, the Trust’s Assistant Director of Public and Physical Healthcare, said that after an initial conversation about making the prototype visors, the team at Toyota went from concept to manufacture in seven days. 

He said: “A team of engineers at Toyota offered to help us, working with design data shared by colleagues at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Liverpool University.

“The Toyota team produced an initial prototype using a 3D printer and we were able to confirm that it would be suitable. So they went straight into production and began to deliver the visors.

“The Toyota team has also linked up with staff at Loughborough University as they have greater access to 3D printers, so we are also very grateful for their support. They all wanted to help us and I really cannot thank them enough.”

Make a difference

Ifti Majid, Chief Executive at Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are hugely appreciative that Toyota staff were able to use their initiative and knowledge to produce something that is extremely important to NHS colleagues at this time, and that will really make a difference to our frontline service delivery. 

“This is a brilliant example of communities coming together to help, and anything that takes some pressure off our demand on the NHS Supply Chain and means we can release more kit into the wider healthcare system must be a good thing.”

The PPE will be used by staff at Derbyshire Healthcare and also by staff at University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust. 

Daniel Nelson, Senior Manager in the Assembly Engineering & Maintenance – Assembly Division at Toyota’s Burnaston plant, said: “It’s a real pleasure to be able to contribute during a crisis, using our resources. A team of five full-time assembly members have been involved, working alongside our purchasing department, and some of those have been working from home – so it’s been a real team effort. I must say that the suppliers of the parts and materials have been fantastic, too, donating items like the elastic in the face shields for free. We’ve been extremely grateful to the Toyota management team who have given us their full support to work on this as part of a wider social contribution to the community.”

Picture shows (from left) Carole Smith, Partnership Development Manager, Loughborough University; Carolyn Green, Director of Nursing and Patient Experience, Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust; Richard Morrow, Assistant Director of Public and Physical Healthcare, Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust; Stewart Finnigan, Engineer Senior in Mass Production Engineering – Quality Assurance Division at Toyota Motor Manufacturing; Daniel Nelson, Senior Manager in the Assembly Engineering & Maintenance – Assembly Division, Toyota Motor Manufacturing; Mark Powell, Chief Operating Officer, Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.