Jobs created as medical device manufacturer begins production of visors

A North East medical device manufacturer has recruited 10 new members staff as it steps up efforts to produce 100,000 face shields a week.

Consett-based Surgical Dynamics has shifted its focus to meet increased demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) among front-line NHS workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following the rapid spread of the virus, Surgical Dynamics decided to expand its factory space, adapt production processes and set up tooling, and employ more staff, to manufacture face shields for NHS and health and social care staff.

As a small and agile company, Surgical Dynamics were able to quickly adapt production processes to produce a new CE certified product – the Guard-EX Face Shield – using raw components which are sourced and manufactured locally.

Production is now underway, and the team hopes to achieve the manufacturing target of 100,000 face shields per week.

The increased production has resulted in the recruitment of two new full-time supervisory staff members and eight temporary staff members.

In addition, the company has taken on 5,000 sq ft of additional factory space at Number One Industrial Estate, to ensure that social distancing is maintained during the manufacture of the face shields.

“Like most people we felt helpless whilst watching the pandemic unfold. We really wanted to help the frontline staff who are putting their own health at risk to save others. We were able to produce a prototype shield fairly quickly with the knowledge and equipment that we have in-house. We then needed help with approvals and distribution, which is where the Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC) is proving invaluable, helping us to get the product into the right hands.” Mark Jessup, Managing Director at Surgical Dynamics

The AHSN NENC is currently supporting Surgical Dynamics by connecting the company to NHS organisations across the North of England.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust have also helped to review and advise on the design, to make the face shield suitable for use within the NHS.

The company is now concentrating efforts on securing orders from across the region, the UK and beyond.

“The AHSN NENC is currently working with NHS and industry to support the provision of PPE by connecting the dots between supply and demand. We are delighted to offer support and advice to innovative regional companies such as Surgical Dynamics, which uses a local and sustainable supply chain to manufacture essential products for our healthcare system.

“It’s encouraging to see businesses across the region adapting and exploring innovative approaches in response to COVID-19. We are able to provide a range of support to innovators and we would be keen to hear from anyone who has a product, service, or technology, that could assist the NHS during the pandemic.”

Charlotte Fox, Innovation Manager at The AHSN NENC

As an established medical device design and manufacturing company, Surgical Dynamics have carefully considered the clinical environment where these face shields will be used.  The face shield ensures protection from any aerosols present in the air which could potentially affect the eyes.

For more information on Surgical Dynamics and the Guard-EX Face Shield, please visit: https://www.surgicaldynamics.co.uk/

To contact the AHSN NENC about the support available from its team of health innovation experts, please contact: charlotte.fox@ahsn-nenc.org.uk