A stitch in time saves Nine(wells)


22nd April 2020

NHS Tayside is working with local industry, the University of Dundee and community volunteers to produce thousands of additional sets of scrubs for frontline staff.

To minimise the current increased risk of infection and cross-contamination, NHS Tayside is aiming for all patient-facing staff currently wearing their own clothes, such as doctors and consultants, to move to using scrubs.

NHS Tayside Linen Services is currently laundering around 6,500 pairs of scrubs – 13,000 individual items – for staff to use every week, with an estimated 5,000 additional sets needed by the end of April.

An increase in demand right across the UK has led to a national shortage of scrubs and, to address this, NHS Tayside is sourcing scrubs through a variety of different routes:

A large number of the required scrubs will be made by local textile company Halley Stevensons, with production already under way through its Dundee-based factory. The scrubs are being produced in a bespoke colour, named Tayside Teal by clinical teams.

A small industrial hub will also be established in the University of Dundee main library. This will be led by textiles staff from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (DJCAD) and will allow staff and student volunteers from across the university to make scrubs using equipment and machinery in the hub.

Local people who have offered to sew scrubs at home will be given packs of fabric and patterns prepared at the university hub. Anyone who would like to join the community effort can sign up at uod.ac.uk/scrubs-project-form. Halley Stevensons is kindly donating a large quantity of high-quality fabric to be used by university and community volunteers and Kirriemuir manufacturer J&D Wilkie has offered to cut the fabric into pattern pieces. The hub will act as a point of drop off and collection of materials and completed sets of scrubs.

The Facebook group ‘NHS Scotland For the Love of Scrubs’ has been working tirelessly with professionals from the fashion industry to produce scrubs all over Scotland, and is also making a significant contribution to supplies in NHS Tayside.

NHS Tayside Medical Director Professor Peter Stonebridge said, “We are very grateful to everyone who is offering to produce scrubs to help protect our frontline staff. It’s a real team effort with partners in local industry, university and communities coming together and using their skills to create the additional suits we need.

“Halley Stevensons has even re-opened its factory in Dundee to start production on these suits which will be truly unique to NHS Tayside.

“We have been so impressed and overwhelmed by the response of everyone working together. Thank you everyone.”

Jane Keith, Programme Co-Director for Textile Design at DJCAD, said, “As soon as we were alerted by NHS Tayside that there was a need for scrubs that we might be able to help with, we got thinking and moved quickly into action.

“We have students, graduates and a wider community of makers who are all keen to help in any way they can. Making hundreds of sets of scrubs to help protect frontline staff in the NHS is a great use of their skills.

“We have set up the DJCAD Scrub Hub, a small scale manufacturing unit which will not only make scrubs but also supply interested people in the community, who have the required skills, with packs of pre-cut fabric to make scrubs. If people think they can help us then we invite them to get in touch.”

University of Dundee

Nobel Prize winning poet and honorary graduate Seamus Heaney has described the University of Dundee as ‘having its head in the clouds and its feet firmly on the ground.’ The ability to be both aspirational and down-to earth and to blend ground-breaking intellectual achievement with practical applications, has given the University its distinctive character.

J & D Wilkie Ltd

J&D Wilkie Ltd is a privately owned global technical textile manufacturing company with head office based in Scotland. With over 140 years experience J&D Wilkie takes pride in their ability to quickly adapt and implement the necessary changes in both technology and manufacturing processes, to meet their changing customer and market requirements.

Halley Stevensons (Dyers & Finishers) Ltd.

Based in Dundee, in Scotland, Halley Stevenson are specialists in the production of waxed fabrics for customers around the world. While other manufacturers in the textiles industry might lay claim to a high quality fabric, few others can match their commitment, or expertise.

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