8000 face shields supplied to front-line staff

Staff within NMPCE have set up an assembly line to make face shields, a part of the enhanced personal protective equipment (PPE) needed by NHS front-line staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the help of colleagues from other Directorates in Newcastle Hospitals, Newcastle University, Northumbria University and industry, more than 8000 face shields have been supplied for clinical staff.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increased demand for PPE by healthcare organizations. The worldwide maker community has responded strongly by placing designs into the public domain, including the face shield designed by Prusa Printers which is being made and used widely around the world. The Prusa face shield consists of a 3D printed headband secured by a strap, to which is a clipped a clear visor.

In Newcastle upon Tyne, technicians at Newcastle University’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, began 3D printing Prusa headbands and offered them to The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. A team from NMPCE arranged clinical and technical evaluation of face shields constructed with the 3D headbands, and established an assembly line at Freeman Hospital.

The Newcastle University team ran their printers round-the-clock, and joined forces with the School of Engineering and Northumbria University’s Faculty of Engineering and Environment. In combination, approximately 2500 headbands have been printed and donated for assembly into face shields by NMPCE. The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is extremely grateful for the timely and sustained support of its academic neighbours.

Visors and material were procured from Bay Plastics,  Potts Print and SB Signs. Injection moulded headbands were procured from ProtoLabs. Additional 3D printed headbands were donated by The Blind Soapmaker. The Notified Body is SATRA Technology.  The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is extremely grateful to our commercial partners for their responsiveness and willingness to help during the COVID-19 crisis.

To date, over 8000 face shields have been assembled and supplied for our front-line clinical staff.  NMPCE and Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals would like to thank the following people, without whom the project would not have delivered its aims.

NuTH team

The NMPCE project team were Jim Wightman, Simon Richardson, Michael Drinnan, Alison Bray, Paddy Stevenson and Andrew Sims. The regulatory team were Joe Bulmer, Becci Harrison and Ina Guri, helped by John Perry and Audrey Perry from Integrated Lab Medicine. Nanette Jardine and Roger Marsh led the assembly lines with colleagues from NMPCE, Audiology, Therapies and Radiology: Katrin Bangel, Emma Belilios, Richard Bergman, Steve Burnett, Julia Clark, Emma Cordingley, Nicky Dafter, Laura Davis, Helen Davison, Eva Dougeni, Kate Franklin, Jane Gilman, Sarah Godfrey, Stuart Haswell, Maxine Hope, Neil Hulley, Paul Humphries, Susan King, Denise Leese, Graham Mallaby, Audrey MacDonald, Amy Marr, David Muir, Rachel O’Leary, Wayne Patterson, Tim Powell, Harry Slinger, Andy Storey, John Surrey, Catherine Sykes, Amanda Timney, Katrina Wilkinson, Alana Wilson, David Wilson and Michelle Young. Many others also volunteered to help. Jim Wheatley and his team in Sterile Services managed the sterilization process, and the procurement of material and distribution of face shields was led by Rachael Whitton, Yvonne Peters and Luke Shires from the NuTH Supplies team.

Newcastle University team

From the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Nathan Hudson initiated the 3D printing rota, with colleagues Sean Mallen and Ed Robinson. They were joined by colleagues from Arts and Culture: Erika Servin, James Davoll, Stephen Rowarth and Burnie Burns, and from the School of Engineering (Mechanical Discipline): Paul Watson and Paul Harrison. Seamus Holden coordinated the Newcastle University PPE production efforts.

Northumbria University team

From the Technical Team in Mechanical and Construction Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Environment, 3D printing was led by Steve Colvin, Martin Purvis, Adam Cosheril, Sam Hutchinson and Simon Neville. They were supported by Faculty Business Manager Andrew Bellamy and the initiative was facilitated by Steven Kyffin, PVC for Business and Development.

Martin Purvis, Simon Neville and Sam Hutchinson fiinshing headbands at Northumbria University Department of Mechanical and Construction Engineering