The Royal Mint, usually known for making money and coins, are turning their focus to helping protect people against COVID-19 by making valuable personal protective equipment (PPE).
Engineers at the site found a basic design for medical visors online. They then adapted and developed their own prototype, which was approved for medical use within 48 hours.
The design will also soon be released online, enabling other companies to manufacture even more.
The Royal Mint say they can produce thousands of masks every day, subject to getting enough of the raw components.
The masks are made with a type of 1mm clear plastic which is currently in low supply. They are appealing to manufacturers across the UK to help them source the material that forms the potentially life-saving protective equipment.
Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board will receive the visors initially, with some already in use at The Royal Glamorgan Hospital.
The CEO of Cwm Tag Morgannwg University Health Board thanked The Royal Mint for their support.
We are incredibly grateful to the Royal Mint for this work. This equipment will be vitally important for our frontline staff to protect themselves and others as they work to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The generosity of organisations such as The Royal Mint as well as our communities has been humbling and I would like to thank everyone for their continued support for our staff and the NHS.
– DR SHARON HOPKINS, CEO CWM TAF MORGANNWG UNIVERSITY HEALTH BOARD
Leighton John, Director of Operations for The Royal Mint said: “My sister works for the NHS and it really focuses your mind on the challenges they are facing, and the opportunity we have to support them.
“On Wednesday at 9am we knew nothing about medical visors, but we set our engineers the task of developing essential medical equipment which could be easily made on site – within seven hours they’d created a medical visor, and within 48 hours it was approved for mass manufacture. We’ll shortly post the specifications on our website to enable other firms to make them too.
“We are now developing the production line, and urgently calling for help to source 1.0mm PET clear plastic which is in low supply across the UK. We believe firms will have this in stock, and we’d urge them to get in touch with us so we can continue to support our NHS.”
Some health care workers are worried about access to protective equipment like masks. One GP based in Bangor told ITV Cymru Wales that she and her colleagues feel “forced to make decisions” based on the “availability of PPE” and not based on “clinical judgement”.
On Wednesday 25, the Welsh Government announced that they would be making more PPE available to health and social care staff.