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Unite urges action

Union calls for Scottish firms to manufacture PPE

Pat Rafferty

Pat Rafferty: ‘national scandal’ (pic: Terry Murden)

Unite, the trade union, has urged the Scottish Government to work with companies which can switch operations to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) for the health service.

The union says PPE is available now from suppliers in Germany and China but says manufacturers in Scotland should be asked to re-purpose their plants to make badly-needed kit.

The demands by Unite come as a series of UK wide reports suggest that hospitals are running out of PPE and are resorting to washing single-use gowns in order to be reused.

Unite Scotland has criticised the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which has suggested that due to acute shortages of PPE it approves the ‘sessional and reuse of PPE’.

Pat Rafferty, Unite Scottish Secretary, said: “Unite Scotland is calling on the Scottish Government to prevent an escalation in the health and safety threat following the alarming reports of hospitals having to reuse personal protective equipment, which is a national scandal.

“This is completely unacceptable and compromises worker and public safety. For the HSE also to issue guidance stating that in certain circumstances equipment can be reused is beyond belief.”

He said Unite passed on details of identified suppliers in Germany and China to the Scottish Government through the STUC last week to accelerate the purchasing of protective equipment.  These products could be ordered immediately. 

“In addition, we repeat our call to work with us to approach a number of Scottish based manufacturing firms who can help address this crisis by altering their operations in order to start producing the necessary equipment needed to keep workers and the public safe.”

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