David Nieper fashion machinists make hospital scrubs in Alfreton factories

Sewing machinists, who had been furloughed amid the coronavirus lockdown, have returned to an Alfreton fashion firm to make protective clothing for medical workers.

Thursday, 16th April 2020, 11:13 am
Bel Wilkinson, Mandy Bradley and Bev Bestwick, pictured left to right, model the scrubs.
Bel Wilkinson, Mandy Bradley and Bev Bestwick, pictured left to right, model the scrubs.

Skilled employees returned to work at David Nieper Ltd after the company receive an order to make 5,000 scrubs for two major university hospital NHS trusts.

The trusts wanted the protective outfits for nine hospitals including Royal Derby Hospital, Derbyshire Children’s Hospital, other community hospitals in Derbyshire, Queen’s Hospital Burton, Leicester Royal Infirmary and Leicester General Hospital.

Christopher Nieper, chief executive, said: “We are delighted to welcome staff back to work and help the national effort.

“Four weeks ago we were one of the first to offer to make PPE and support the NHS, but our efforts have been frustrated by the slow centralised procurement system.

“To break through this red tape, we took the decision to sidestep the bureaucracy and bypass the central system. We are now supplying direct to nine hospitals through local East Midlands NHS trusts.

“We very much hope this approach proves to be groundbreaking in that local suppliers will be able to serve their local hospital services without delay, to ensure that PPE gets to where it is needed the most.”

Christopher, who was awarded an MBE for services to manufacturing in the 2020 New Years’s Honours, said: “Over the last few days we’ve cut and graded patterns for surgical scrubs and gowns, we’ve made prototypes for the hospitals to approve. We’ve sourced, bought and had delivered 12,500m of fabric and a volunteer team has been working over the Easter bank holiday, cutting the first 1,000 garments ready to start sewing.

“Where possible British manufacturers should be switching production to support the government in defeating this virus. This will support the NHS by providing them with vital equipment to do their jobs safely, while getting Britain back to work. We all need to put our shoulder to the wheel.”

With two sewing factories and two shifts patterns, the company has plenty of space to ensure the social distancing of staff. The business employs more than 350 workers.