Britain’s bedmakers are joining the battle to beat the coronavirus crisis.
According to the National Bed Federation (NBF), the only trade association representing the specific interests of the UK bed industry, a number of manufacturers have pivoted production to help the NHS tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
NBF executive director Jessica Alexander said: “As with huge swathes of the British economy, traditional bed making has been hard hit by the crisis which has seen much of the retail economy go ‘on pause’. While this has brought much of the industry’s usual production to a standstill, many of our members have responded to the challenge in a positive and constructive way with some of them working flat out to produce essential supplies for the health service.
“The skills we have as an industry have been diverted to helping the national emergency in many different forms – from assisting the NHS meet its need for an additional 25,000 mattresses to producing foam pads for ventilators, contributing to the vital need for face masks and other essential medical equipment.”
Those helping the national battle to beat the virus include:
Wakefield-based GNG Group (owners of Komfi brand): MD Phil Whittell said: “We have been awarded Key Supplier Status by the NHS and are now focusing all our production capacity on healthcare, with the emphasis on medical mattresses. We currently have 85-plus full time employees split over three shifts operating seven days a week. We have also increased our normal medical product capacity tenfold to meet current demand. This unprecedented upturn has meant that a typical six months’ worth of orders has been received within five days, and we are working closely with our suppliers so that we can ensure our products are manufactured and delivered with the utmost speed.”
Millbrook Beds: Two weeks ago, its team of mattress makers, upholsterers and carpenters had never seen a medical bed, but in just 10 days assembled over 1000 of them in support of the NHS.
Breasley: The family-run firm is manufacturing vital equipment including hospital mattresses, trolleys and operating table foams. It is also producing specialist cushions to reduce pressure sores among at-risk patients and positional aids (head, chest, leg and arm) for intensive care units for patients in the prone position on ventilators. Products have been sent straight to the front line, including the newly commissioned Nightingale Hospital in London and Manchester Royal Infirmary Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Over the past five weeks the company has also provided health services in Italy and Germany with essential supplies.
The Vita Group: Meeting the challenge for increased demand of medical foam with its block production line in Middleton, Manchester prioritising the manufacture of critical medical foam grades. Conversion units at Bedford, Dukinfield and Stakehill are currently manufacturing a further 8000 mattresses with a plan to ramp up production over the coming weeks to meet further demand.
Redwood TTM: Working flat out to manufacture essential medical equipment and mattresses for the NHS and other healthcare environments.
Silentnight: Its hospitality and contracts division has supplied face masks to North Cumbria Care Alliance and is also assisting the army in providing single beds for care homes in Cumbria. The company is also contacting all public bodies to offer beds, mattresses and bedding to ensure those infected and front line key workers have what they need to rest and recover.
Invacare: The company is already a supplier of mattresses to the NHS and is now pushing the boundaries to meet huge new order intakes. These are to help equip existing hospitals and the new Nightingale temporary facilities with beds to extend the health service’s capacity to treat thousands of extra patients during the crisis.
CPS Labels: MD Simon Green says: “ We have a small team working flat out on labels, instructions and brochures for mattresses and other products for the medical and healthcare sectors and we are also getting orders for signage and posters etc to help companies continue to work safely under the current social distancing requirements.”