A team of tutors, technicians, campus services staff and technical demonstrators at Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) have been working over the course of two weeks to print, build and distribute more than 2,000 items of personal protective equipment (PPE) from the university’s Wallisdown campus.
The specialist arts university, which closed its campus and moved to online teaching more than two weeks ago, had already collected up items of its own PPE equipment, stocked for studio and workshop teaching, and delivered these to local surgeries.
The university then began putting plans in place to fund, print and fabricate new PPE equipment with its 3D printers for essential NHS staff and medical professionals.
The 3D printed equipment, manufactured under strict social distancing and hygiene practices, has been funded by AUB and developed via publicly available ‘open-source’ design plans, and has so far reached healthcare teams across Hampshire and Dorset, including Lifeboat Quay Medical Centre in Poole and Westbourne Medical Centre, as well as surgeries and practices in Highcliffe and Lymington.
Jill Tobin, Practice Manager at Lifeboat Quay Medical Centre in Poole, said: “Thank you so much, the visors are absolutely great and will make a real difference to the local GP practices, especially in the Poole Central RED clinic that we have set up to see suspected COVID patients. Once again, a huge thank you to AUB and its team.”
Professor Paul Gough, Principal and Vice Chancellor at AUB, said: “I’m so proud of each and every member of the AUB community, our staff and students, who’ve pulled together at this difficult time to make sure that we’re able to play our part in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
“We’ve been able to engage with the community to supply vital PPE equipment from our studios and workshops to local healthcare providers, and we’re now producing NHS-tested face shields for front line medical staff in our workshop, with more than 1,500 being made from scratch over the next week.”
AUB’s workshop team will continue production of the equipment throughout the peak of the pandemic and intends to focus another batch of production towards care homes in the conurbation, having delivered more than 1,000 units to care homes locally.
The university has asked for medical centres or care providers seeking additional protective equipment to get in touch with the AUB innovation team via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.