Health Minister, Robin Swann and Finance Minister, Conor Murphy today visited Huhtamaki in West Belfast who are in partnership with Bloc Blinds which is producing 13million face shields for frontline health workers.
During the visit, both Ministers reiterated the commitment of the Executive to pursuing all supply channels both locally and globally to secure Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Health Minister, Robin Swann said: “I am delighted to visit Huhtamaki today to see the essential work they are doing to help ensure our health and social care workers have the protective equipment they need. We are working very hard to build up our PPE stockpiles for the post surge period and the expected second surge and I will pursue every feasible route locally and indeed internationally to do this. The protection of our frontline health and safety staff is an absolute priority and my Department continues to work with the Department of Finance to ensure that all supply lines are maximised to their full potential.
There is also a responsibility on the public to do what they can. I ask everyone to adhere to the restrictions and stay indoors over Easter. Do not put yourself, or your loved ones at risk, protect the health service and its great staff.”
Finance Minister, Conor Murphy said: “I commend Huhtamaki and Bloc Blinds for their partnership approach to manufacturing face shields visors for health and social care staff, the first large order of which arrived today which will be sent out to Trusts immediately.
“Local companies are playing a key role in helping protect our frontline workers in the fight against Covid-19. Over 300 local businesses have so far offered to help produce PPE equipment with orders having been placed for 75 million items of PPE.
“The crisis we face means that we must do everything in our power including pursuing supply chains both locally and globally to protect our frontline workers. The Executive is fully united behind the plans to directly secure a significant PPE order from China. This is the right thing to do, for the sake of our frontline health and social care staff and wider public sector. We are proud of the business connections and friendships we have cultivated with China over many years. The company we are actively engaged with is a reputable and quality company and talks are at an advanced stage. The export regulations for PPE that the Chinese government have in place and the standards that companies have to meet also gives us a lot of assurance.”