Washington-based packaging firm PFF Group has established a new health division following its appointment to manufacture 360 million disposable polythene aprons for frontline NHS staff and social care workers.
The contract from the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has seen the company create 100 new jobs and invest more than £2m in custom-built machines, designed and built in the UK.
PFF Group, which also has offices in Keighley, West Yorkshire, is one of the UK’s largest independent food packaging manufacturers, providing innovative packaging solutions to supermarkets, multi-national food manufacturers, foodservice and fresh produce companies across the UK.
The company has established PFF Health and appointed experienced health professional Mark Foulger as the new division’s commercial director. Reporting to group managing director Kenton Robbins, Mark brings wide experience of the health sector having worked with several large medical device manufacturers.
Kenton Robbins said: “Prior to the pandemic, 90% of PPE was imported from China with buying based on price. With supply routes from China closing and huge demand, not just from the UK but many other countries hit by similar shortages, the country was desperately short of supplies. As a result, the UK needed to establish a resilient and reliable supply in record time.
“As we were already in discussions with the DHSC about using our capability in plastics packaging to move into health-related products, we were delighted to quickly answer the call from government for help to produce PPE here in the UK.
“Our new healthcare division will build on this expertise to move into other areas of healthcare production from our manufacturing bases in the UK. I am delighted to welcome Mark Foulger to our specialist health team. He brings extensive knowledge of both the NHS and private health sector in the UK and Ireland which will be invaluable.”
Mark Foulger said: “I’m very excited to join the company and proud to help the NHS, care sector and wider market gain access to quality British products. PFF Health will play a vital role in helping the UK become more self-sufficient in the supply of these critical products.”
During the coronavirus pandemic, the Government expanded the UK’s PPE supply chain from 226 NHS Trusts in England to over 58,000 different settings, including care homes, hospices and community care organisations. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 5.6 billion items of PPE have been delivered to the health and social care system in England.