Meet the NHS heroes with brown cardboard boxes

Supplies team at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
The Supplies team at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

They are united by a purpose to keep hospital staff as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For two months, the Supplies team at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (HUTH) have battled against global shortages to ensure ward staff have enough personal protective equipment (PPE).

Thanks to the team led by Head of Procurement Julie Lumb, every ward and department has enough PPE to keep their staff and patients safe.

Chief Nurse Information Officer Steve Jessop said: “I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if we didn’t have enough PPE for our staff but, thanks to Julie and her team, we’ve never had that problem.

“Just like every other large teaching hospital, we’ve had problems sourcing PPE but the team have found solutions to every one of those issues, coming up with alternatives and never giving up. 

”We owe them huge thanks for the supreme effort they make every single day to keep our staff as safe as possible.” 

Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital have used millions of items of PPE since the trust confirmed the country’s first two cases of COVID-19 at the end of January.

Each week, Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital uses 

  • 403,600 pairs of gloves
  • 67,500 surgical masks
  • 164,600 plastic aprons
  • 7,180 FFP3 masks for high-risk procedures
  • 10,870 coveralls
  • 2,050 sterile surgical gowns
  • 4,720 visors
  • 26,500 orange waste bags
  • 750 bags for contaminated waste
  • 900 surgical hoods
  • 96 boxes of disinfectant 
  • 624 bottles of alcohol hand rub
  • 555 bottles of hand rub
  • 540 bottles of hand wash

In the first weeks as countries scrambled for PPE, the trust used local manufacturers and suppliers outside its normal supply chain.

Businesses including ARCO, Siemens, Howden’s and organisations such as the University of Hull and Humber Fire and Rescue and local schools helped by supplying the trust with everything from visors to scrubs and goggles. Hull tailor Cock of the North supplied the trust with almost 1,000 reusable gowns and hundreds of pairs of scrubs have been donated,

Stocktakes are undertaken every day, with emergency supplies held at both hospitals to ensure no ward, team or department ever runs out. Daily reports on stock levels are sent to the tactical response group set up by the trust to tackle the outbreak so any shortages are prioritised.

Mr Jessop said: “We are trying, wherever possible, to source reusable items and we are very grateful to firms and organisations in East Yorkshire which have stepped forward with offers of help.

“When there has been a national shortage of one item, such as the recent gowns, the team had already sourced coveralls as an alternative before it was suggested at a national level.

“They’ve found us masks which surpass the required standard, making our staff among the safest in the country.

“Although certain brands or types of PPE have run out, we’ve always had an acceptable alternative for staff thanks to the efforts of Supplies.”

[Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust]

HULL IS THIS WELLBEING category is sponsored by NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group