New Medicom mask factory in Northampton to bring 250 jobs while supplying NHS amidst praise from senior Labour MPs
The factory is the only cleanroom production line for masks in the UK, according to the company
A new mask factory opening in Northampton has been welcomed by two senior Labour MPs, with hopes it will ease the strain on supply, as well as the environment.
The factory, in Liliput Road, Brackmills has created 250 new jobs and is the product of 'millions of pounds' of investment by Medicom, a global company that bills itself as a leading manufacturer and distributor, especially in areas like Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
The company currently operates in Canada, France, Singapore and Hong Kong across ten production sites, but this marks the first in the UK.
Both Emily Thornberry, Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade, and Bill Esterson, Shadow Minister for International Trade, have visited the site and reportedly praised the project for its high standards and focus on using British-made production materials.
Bill Esterson said: “I was very impressed at the attention to detail in ensuring that the masks are of the highest quality, and that production takes place in a clean room environment which goes beyond the standards required. This high-quality approach is of great value to NHS staff and patients.
“There have been significant concerns during the pandemic about poor quality, waste and corruption in the way PPE has been bought. I’ve also highlighted the appalling use of forced labour in Malaysia and China in PPE production, so it is very good news that we now have PPE production of the highest standards in Britain.
"I was also greatly encouraged that Medicom are using suppliers from Britain or nearby countries to increase reliability and reduce carbon footprint.”
The factory will be producing two different types of mask for the NHS.
The first, known as the 2R, is the standard blue and white masks we have all become familiar with during Covid-19. The other, FFP3, is a heavy-duty model that purportedly blocks 99 percent of all airborne particles. This one is intended for use in areas like operating theatres and intensive care units.
In a reported first for the UK, the masks will also be produced in what's known as a 'cleanroom', a space which maintains a very low concentration of airborne particulates
The new factory will be a welcome addition to PPE supplies in the UK, reducing its reliance on foreign production.
It may also reduce the chance of scams, such as when thousands of Chinese masks proved to be ineffective and had to be thrown out, after being bought by the NHS.
Emily Thornberry said: “It should be our collective goal in the coming years to buy, make and sell more in Britain, so it’s been a pleasure to visit a company that is trying to provide a high-quality, home-grown solution to our PPE needs.
“Too often our NHS has had to rely reply on supplies that have fallen short of the required standard during the pandemic, and of our values concerning the protection of human rights.”
The company says it hopes success in the town will lead to even more projects down the line.