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Your questions: Why can't I make NHS scrubs?

Several UK suppliers and manufacturers have asked why the government is not allowing them to provide scrubs and robes for the NHS amid the coronavirus crisis. Find out the answer here. 

As the front-line fight against the Covid-19 coronavirus intensifies, UK suppliers and manufacturers have been quick to offer their services to the NHS for the production of personal protective equipment (PPE). These are gowns, masks, aprons and other items that help protect medical staff from infection while treating coronavirus patients.

However, several fashion suppliers are wondering why they are not permitted to help amid the pandemic. 

“Some UK suppliers were going to make scrubs and growns, but are no longer able to as they have received a document from the government stating they must have a CE certification [a certification mark that indicates conformity with health, safety, and environmental protection standards for products sold within the European Economic Area] and be tested also,” one UK fashion supplier told Drapers. 

“This seems crazy and ridiculous as I have been talking with NHS staff in Scotland, who said they are desperate for more scrubs and robes. I would like to know why the garment industry is being prevented from helping.” 

One manufacturing expert said the procedure is currently too strict: “We have an amazing textile industry here and so many companies offering to help but the are so many barriers being put in the way, so much red tape. Lots of companies wanting to help are having to make them through a third party approved supplier who has the certification.”  

Fashion Roundtable, the secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Textiles and Fashion, has confirmed the NHS is still in need of PPE. 

However, suppliers and manufacturers must have a CE certification and complete further tests before they are allowed to help. 

Fashion Roundtable has advised suppliers and manufacturers to fill in the British Textile Consortium’s form to make them aware of their skills and capacity, which will enable them to collate and work as a consortium to supply the NHS. 

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