Coronavirus: West Midlands blood bikers deliver face masks
Volunteer bikers who deliver blood to West Midlands hospitals will now also deliver face masks to support the NHS during the coronavirus crisis.
Blood Bikers will collect visors from Warwickshire company 3P, which is 3D-printing the personal protective equipment (PPE).
The government has acknowledged supply issues in delivering PPE to hospital staff.
The team's first delivery of 300 masks is set to be sent out on Wednesday.
Chris Hyde, a volunteer from Shropshire, said they had been able to pull the scheme together in just a week.
The group is hoping to "recruit an army of producers" who can print their own masks, which will then be packaged and decontaminated, for the bikers to deliver to hospitals in Shropshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire.
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"Whilst 3D printing is an exceptionally good technology, it's very difficult to produce [visors] in volume," Mr Hyde said.
While "anything is better than nothing," he hopes to be able to deliver thousands, rather than hundreds, of essential masks to NHS staff.
The government has acknowledged distribution problems when it comes to delivering PPE to hospital workers but said a national supply team was "working around the clock" to deliver equipment.
Mr Hyde said the bikers would continue to transport blood to hospitals alongside visors.
"It was very important to us that we didn't dilute that work [blood delivery] at this point in time," he said, "but we will respond to the NHS's needs and demands."
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