Foam firm helps make 25k mattresses for Nightingale hospitals

Date published: 20 April 2020

A local manufacturer is playing a key role in supplying 25,000 mattresses needed for the new NHS Nightingale hospitals being used to treat Covid-19 patients.

Nightingale hospitals have or are in the process of being built across the UK in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Harrogate, Bristol, Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast and will provide thousands of extra beds if local services need them during the peak of coronavirus.

The Vita Group, which is headquartered in Middleton, is one of the companies tasked with manufacturing the polyurethane foam that has been used in the majority of the mattresses required by the NHS. The company is providing a mixture of mattress cores and finished mattresses.

The company is also involved in the manufacture of face and visor mask protection, SoftSeal lining for incontinence wear/pads and filters used in ventilators.

Ian Robb, chief executive of The Vita Group, said: “I’m incredibly proud of the way our teams have responded to the call for materials to support healthcare, care homes and medical sectors during the Covid-19 emergency.

“It’s a huge logistical operation across multiple sites and countries including Middleton, Dukinfield, Stakehill and Wythenshawe in Greater Manchester and our sister plants in Accrington, Bedford, Chelmsford and Milton Keynes.

“The UK faces an unprecedented challenge from Covid-19 and The Vita Group has been delighted to play its part.”

The company normally make foam used in office and household furniture and bedding but has now diverted the bulk of its efforts into the manufacture of  medical mattresses. 

Robb said: “The NHS require over 25,000 additional mattresses and associated products in the fight against Covid-19 and The Vita Group and our subsidiary Vita UK are meeting the challenge for increased demand for medical foam.

“The block production line in Middleton, Rochdale, is prioritising the manufacturing of critical medical foam grades required by our healthcare partners. 

“Conversion units at Bedford, Dukinfield and Stakehill are currently manufacturing a further 8,000 mattresses with a plan to ramp up production over the coming weeks to meet further demand. 

“The Vita Group’s employees are doing everything they can to deliver on these critical products that support our country’s Covid-19 response.”

The Vita Group, which employs 2,700 people across Europe, is also manufacturing filters for ventilators and a key component of PPE face masks.

Robb explained: “The heat, moisture and exchange (HME) filters involve our sites across the Netherlands and Greater Manchester. HME filters are designed to replicate the functions of the body's upper airway by conserving expired heat and moisture and returning these to the patient during inhalation.

“We are very proud of our cross divisional teams, who are doing everything they can to deliver performance materials for critical products that support the current Covid-19 response and the future of our NHS.

“The Vita Group is build on its 70+ year heritage and culture of teamwork, which has come to the fore during the global response to Covid-19.”

A number of other companies in the Rochdale borough have assisted the NHS in the fight against Covid-19. Hanson Spring has been involved in the UK-wide drive to produce 30,000 emergency ventilators while manufacturer Crystal Doors is producing 10,000 pieces of furniture for the NHS.

Councillor John Blundell, cabinet member for regeneration, business, skills and employment  at Rochdale Borough Council and Rochdale Development Agency board member, said: “Whether its springs for ventilators, vinyl wrapped furniture or medical mattresses, the incredible talent and innovation of Rochdale businesses has proved vital in the fight against Covid-19.

“There’s a substantial skills base across our business community and I’m very proud of the work they’re doing that’s making such a positive difference at this very unsettling time.”

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