Orthotic manufacturer makes face visors to protect frontline NHS staff

Company changes direction to produce much-needed protective equipment for the COVID-19 response

Blatchford is manufacturing face visors for frontline NHS staff

An award-winning Sheffield manufacturer has started making thousands of face visors to help protect frontline NHS staff against COVID-19.

Blatchford, which usually make orthotic and prosthetic devices, is using its highly skilled technicians, supply chain, and facilities to help with the COVID-19 response.

The idea began as a way of protecting the orthotic, special seating and prosthetic clinicians – who are in very close contact with patients as they assess and treat them - from the virus.

But it soon became clear that other clinical areas were in need of PPE and the company is now working for NHS trusts they would not usually do business with.

The visors will help curb the spread of coronavirus among healthcare professionals

Since production started last week, Blatchford has manufactured and delivered over 1,000 visors across nine different NHS trusts, with hundreds more in production.

Nigel Birkett, operations manager, said: “We wanted to help in the fight against COVID-19 and thought the best way we could do this is use our materials and expertise to make protective face visors for NHS staff.

“So far we have made offers of the masks to all the NHS trusts that we currently provide clinical support to and have offered support to any other trusts that have reached out to us.”

The company is also helping the frontline by producing and delivering orthotics, prosthetics and specialist seating systems to help to clear beds in hospitals that will then be used to help with the care of patients affected with coronavirus.

The face visors are being made from acetate plastic for the shield, evazote for the forehead padding, and elasticated Velcro for the strapping.