3D Printing for the NHS – Covid-19
A dedicated team of staff at Lee Evans Partnership has been busy 3D printing and assembling face shields for use by NHS frontline staff during the Coivd-19 outbreak.
At the end of March, and with increasing media coverage of the developing pandemic, the idea to utilise the Practice’s 3D printing technologies was discussed with a view to providing face shield visors for NHS frontline staff.
Simultaneously, the wife of one of our practice Partners – a nurse at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital – had commented on the difficulty of obtaining personal protective equipment, and that there was a real concern about the risk of infection of staff within her department.
In an effort to find tangible ways the Practice could help, a team of LEP staff assembled and dedicated their free time to investigating ways we could assist and exploring design options for personal face shields which could be printed, assembled, and distributed to those in need.
Feedback in relation to other 3D printed visors used by those currently working in the NHS was mixed, with many saying they were uncomfortable to wear. Therefore, we set about exploring various design options with different prototypes investigated before selecting a design that provided a lightweight yet robust visor, which would be comfortable to wear for prolonged periods of time.
The first wave of donations from LEP has been produced and sent to various local hospitals, including:
- Kent and Canterbury Hospital, Canterbury – 8 units
- William Harvey Hospital, Ashford – 12 units
- Tonbridge Respiratory ICU – 8 units
- University College London Hospital (UCLH) – 28 units
Feedback from our initial donation has been promising, with Consultant Anaesthetist, Jamie Smart, from UCLH saying;
“The face shields have been an incredible help as they are much lighter and can be worn for longer periods of time without causing pain. Once again, massive thank you to LEP for their donations and to everyone involved”.
Following the positive reaction, our production has ramped-up, with 60-70 units destined for distribution over the coming week. The practice has an ongoing list of requests for visors and will continue production from both our Canterbury and London staff for as long as needed.
Each face shield takes around 3 hours to print, assemble and package, at a cost to the Partnership of approximately £3.50 per unit. Currently, the practice is able to comfortably make around 16 visors per day. We have an ongoing list of requests for visors, and staff will be working hard to continue production to try to help those in need.
We have also been fortunate enough to have had some materials donated, including acetate from printing firms Omicron Repro in Canterbury, and ABC Imaging in Farringdon – a wonderfully kind gesture for which we are grateful.
Huge thanks to all those from LEP putting aside their spare time to assist, and also to those who have donated and supported us in this venture.
But most importantly, THANK YOU to all NHS staff and those on the front line of this pandemic helping to save lives in very difficult conditions – we are in awe of you all!