Coronavirus: MP visits Ford Dagenham factory to see ventilator production

Jon Cruddas on the visit to Ford Dagenham. Picture: Andrew Achilleos

Jon Cruddas on the visit to Ford Dagenham. Picture: Andrew Achilleos - Credit: Andrew Achilleos

Jon Cruddas has visited the Ford factory where hundreds of ventilators are being made to help patients during the coronavirus crisis.

The Dagenham and Rainham MP has visited the plant - keeping a safe distance from staff at all times - to see the work taking place at the factory.

He said: “It is amazing what they have achieved in just a few short weeks.

“Ford volunteers are working all hours of the day to meet the demand – a huge sacrifice in the national interest.”

The company is making the equipment as part of the VentilatorChallengeUK consortium - a group 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, with two models being produced to satisfy a government order for more than 15,000 ventilators.

Ford temporarily halted its regular engine production at the plant at the end of March in response to the pandemic.

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Mr Cruddas added: “I want to put on record my appreciation to all the workers and the company for stepping up in the country’s hour of need.

“It was a pleasure to visit the plant, and there was a real wartime spirit about the place – just like in the war when Dagenham built the munitions to help save the country, so it is today.

“This is a great credit to Dagenham.”

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

Health secretary Matt Hancock said of the consortium: “The ingenuity and innovation shown by so many companies has been truly awe-inspiring and has helped us continue to get ventilators to the frontline and keep capacity ahead of demand.

“Technology and innovation, operating hand-in-hand with the care and dedication of our fantastic health and social care staff, will help us overcome this virus.”

The UK now has 10,900 mechanical invasive ventilators available to the NHS, as well as 4,300 non-invasive devices.