Delivering vital PPE as part of the UK’s COVID-19 pandemic response

By Steve Dechan

COVID-19 is the greatest crisis the UK has faced since WWII – at the time of writing this article it has cost over 80,000 lives, plunged the UK into multiple national lockdowns and halted the lives of millions. 2020 was an incredibly long year, but I want to remember for a moment the panic of February and March 2020 when it was becoming increasingly apparent that COVID-19 was not an alien concept but rather a global pandemic which posed a real threat people and the NHS. 

Daily news alerts were becoming more and more drastic in their reports – as SAGE predicted up to 500,000 deaths without action and as NHS leaders warned of an NHS at risk of being overwhelmed, Government was rushing to develop a strategy and build a response. One thing was certain: to keep hospitals running, NHS key workers needed protection. The UK joined the race of countries around the globe seeking to get a hold of as much personal protective equipment (PPE) as possible. Protecting front line heroes who were battling the disease to keep us all safe rightly became a priority for Government. 

That is where we came in. Platform 14 has a decade’s experience in distribution of medical devices and equipment – we knew we were well positioned to deliver high standard PPE, on time and on budget, to the NHS and the front-line workers who were battling the disease. 

We were given the opportunity to deliver and help ensure that the NHS and its staff were protected, to keep hospitals open and staff safe. Working with teams from the South West of England through to China we delivered on that commitment – 139 million face shields and gowns were delivered to thousands of sites across the UK. On time. On budget. 

This was not an easy feat – global competition for PPE was massive and supply chains were being tested at all points. The public was all too aware of the early stories of faulty PPE being sent back, at the cost of taxpayers across the globe. We knew we had to get it right and we did. 

COVID-19 presented a huge challenge – it still does. This disease has tested every section of society, every business and asked everyone of us to step up and play our part in supporting the NHS as it battles to keep us safe and care for the sick. In the Spring of 2020 Platform 14 stepped up and played its part in supporting and protecting the heroes who are continuing to battle this disease. 

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