April 8, 2020 @ 14:51 by Steven Hugill
A research and innovation centre is lending its scientific and technological expertise to support key healthcare workers during the coronavirus crisis.
The Materials Processing Institute is making hand sanitiser for Marie Curie nurses.
The organisation has set up a specialist team to create the sterilant and turned a laboratory at its Middlesbrough campus into a production centre.
Bosses aim to produce enough to supply one free bottle a week to all 175 Marie Curie nurses operating between Tyneside and York for the remainder of the crisis.
Hand sanitiser is an effective weapon against the spread of COVID-19 as the charity’s nurses continue caring for the terminally ill in their homes and at its hospice in Elswick, Newcastle.
Chris McDonald, chief executive at the Materials Processing Institute, said: “This organisation may be better known for its innovations in metallurgy, advanced materials, thermo-fluid dynamics and engineering, but just at this moment hand sanitiser is a priority.
“We are all aware of the importance of protecting our critical workers through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Marie Curie nurses all do an amazing job and are putting themselves at risk to care for others.
“Access to personal protective equipment is a priority, and I hope that by providing these hand sanitisers, we will help them remain safe and continue the absolutely vital work they do.”
Mandy Wilkinson, regional manager for Marie Curie’s nursing service in the North East, added: “Every day and night, nurses and frontline staff give vital support to dying people and their families, in their homes and our hospices across the UK.
“These crucial services are needed now more than ever, as the NHS is put under ever greater strain.
“This equipment will aid us in providing this support and we are very grateful to the Materials Processing Institute for its generosity.”