Coronavirus: Thousands of ventilators to be built at Dagenham factory

Ventilators similar to these are set to be built in Dagenham. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Ventilators similar to these are set to be built in Dagenham. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA - Credit: PA

Thousands of ventilators for coronavirus patients are set to be built in Dagenham.

More than 10,000 devices are due to be manufactured at factories across the country, with Dagenham due to produce “a significant proportion” of these.

It is part of the VentilatorChallengeUK (VCUK) consortium, which is bringing together the medical, aerospace and medical sectors to develop new models to support people suffering from breathing difficulties caused by coronavirus.

Companies including Airbus, Rolls Royce and Ford are involved, alongside seven UK-based Formula 1 teams.

Dick Elsy, the consortium’s chairman, explained that work had already started to manufacture one device and that a second had been approved by regulators.

He said: “I’m very pleased to confirm that we have now secured MHRA approval for the Penlon Prima ESO2 device which has been undergoing stringent testing and clinical trials for two weeks.

“Ventilators of this type are complex and critical pieces of medical equipment so ensuring the absolute adherence to regulatory standards and meeting clinical needs were always our priorities.

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“Having already commenced deliveries of the Smiths Group’s paraPAC plus devices, we are working closely with our supply chain partners to rapidly scale up production to achieve our target of at least 1,500 units a week of the combined Penlon and Smiths models.”

He prased the companies involved, adding: “Every day, their highly-skilled staff collaborate to create solutions that help millions of people, and this project is no different.

“I am confident this consortium has the skills and tools to make a difference and save lives.”

Up to 600 production operatives are being recruited to work at the Dagenham factory on short-term contracts.

Carlo Girasoli, senior account director at recruitment firm Randstad, said: “The response to date has been very positive.

“The sooner we can deliver the new ventilators to our NHS, the more patients we can help send safely home to their loved ones.”

Production is also due to take place at factories in Woking, Maidenhead, Penlon in Oxfordshire and Broughton, Wales.