North companies have been joining forces to protect frontline NHS staff during the pandemic.
Workers at 4c Engineering and Aseptium, who are neighbours at Inverness Campus, contacted Raigmore Hospital to ask how they could use their expertise in technology, rapid manufacturing and decontamination of surgical instruments to help NHS staff.
They have now produced 200 face shields and aim to give 1,000 to health workers there.
The design is being made freely available online with full manufacture guidance, on the condition design credit is given and that manufacture is non-profit.
Wider adoption is already under way with Lochgilphead-based Midton Engineering manufacturing the kit for hospitals in Oban and Mid-Argyll.
The scheme got off to a rocky start due to the national lockdown – which severely curtailed the availability of material.
But, with the help of Inverness Chamber of Commerce, the business community rallied round.
The first prototype was presented last week to infection control and intensive care staff.
Pawel de Sternberg Stojalowski, of Aseptium, added: “This project is a testimony to what a collective of engineers can achieve when they face a challenge together. It’s all about community and collaboration.”
Dr Jonathan Whiteside, from the department of critical care at Raigmore, added: “Whilst we are generally happy with the NHS supply chain, at times of great demand there can be interruptions or shortages.
“We were delighted to be approached by 4c Engineering, who were able to source materials locally, and produce much-needed protective visors.
“These have been put to immediate clinical use, providing staff with the necessary protection and allowing them to continue to provide high quality care during these difficult times.”
Meanwhile, people in North Uist have rallied round to produce hand sanitiser to deal with the shortage in an environmentally friendly way.
Production of the liquid has been undertaken by distillers at the local North Uist Distillery.
Locals have assisted by providing containers and offering to deliver the final product.
In the past week, key workers and the most vulnerable across North Uist, South Uist, Benbecula and Barra have received the first batch.
Now, bulk containers have been placed in local shops, with the option to reduce plastic waste and the carbon footprint by refilling disused soap containers and taking away the need for delivery to homes.