Millions of bottles of INEOS' new hand sanitiser have started being delivered free to hospitals across Europe. Warrington & Halton Hospital in England was the first UK hospital to receive 450 litres to help keep its frontline workers safe in the fight against COVID-19.
“It's absolutely fantastic that British manufacturers have stepped up to fight against coronavirus,” said Deputy Chief Nurse John Goodenough.
The INEOS hand sanitiser project, initiated by Chairman Sir Jim Ratcliffe, has enlisted the support of Sir Dave Brailsford and his winning Tour de France cycling team.
“This major initiative has brought together the very best of all INEOS and its teams in a race against the clock,” said Sir Jim.
As team principal of Team INEOS, Sir Dave is more used to managing the world’s best cycling team.
His logistics team is highly efficient at moving lots of cycling equipment, supplies and support crews around the world.
Now Dave and his team are liaising directly with NHS trusts and hospitals across Europe, co-ordinating shipments to where they are needed most.
“Usually it’s the sports stars who everyone comes to watch and support,” he said. “But the tables have turned. Now the performers are the health workers and the frontline hospital staff and they are the ones who everyone is admiring at the minute. We are the fans.”
Working closely with NHS Trusts, INEOS hand sanitisers will be delivered to 28 hospitals across the UK including Grangemouth, Halton, Teesside, Derby and London.
Wider distribution will follow as the production plant at Newton Aycliffe in the North East of England reaches full capacity.
Similar plants in Herne, Germany, and Lavera in France are also delivering free vital supplies directly to hospitals.
The three plants were built in less than 10 days. A fourth - at Étain, France – will start production imminently.
INEOS’ initial priority is to meet the needs of frontline medical and care services before supplying pocket-sized hand sanitisers for the public.
All will be produced to World Health Organisation specifications.
Hand-to-mouth contamination is one of the main ways that the virus spreads and there is a critical shortage of hand sanitisers across the UK and mainland Europe.
“We knew speed was crucial in addressing this shortage,” said Sir Jim. “That said, getting the hand sanitiser into production in just 10 days was a huge team effort and Team INEOS, led by Sir Dave Brailsford, have made a great contribution alongside the rest of the INEOS family.”
INEOS produces chemicals that go into anti-biotics, paracetamol, anti-inflammatories, anti-virals and aspirin, and the re-agent chemicals that go into testing kits.
It also produces the plastics that go into medical equipment, face masks, sterile gloves and eye visors. The list goes on and on and on.
The US Department of Homeland Security has described many as being ‘critical to national resilience’ from basic sanitation through to the search for a vaccine.
The latest project combines INEOS’ know-how in engineering, chemical production and safety, with Team INEOS’ logistical expertise.
“If we can find other ways to help in the coronavirus battle, we remain absolutely committed to playing our part,” said Sir Jim.