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Coronavirus: Consortium including Ford Dagenham stops production after 13,000 ventilators

PUBLISHED: 12:00 06 July 2020 | UPDATED: 12:09 06 July 2020

Staff celebrate the consortium's final ventilators being sent out to be used by the NHS. Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Staff celebrate the consortium's final ventilators being sent out to be used by the NHS. Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Steve Parsons/PA Wire

More than 13,000 ventilators to help coronavirus patients have been made by a consortium including Ford Dagenham.

One of the ventilators being brought to the final truck to be sent out. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA WireOne of the ventilators being brought to the final truck to be sent out. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The VentilatorChallengeUK group brought together businesses from the aerospace, motorsport, automotive and medical sectors in a bid to increase the number of ventilators available to the NHS during the pandemic.

Since its formation in March, the consortium has produced 13,437 ventilators at seven manufacturing facilities across the country, with the last ones rolling off the production line on Sunday, July 5.

More than 400 ventilators a day were being produced at times during the height of the production, with the two different types of ventilators - made by Penlon and Smiths - being distributed to hospitals around the UK to more than double the stock available to the NHS.

Dick Elsy, who chaired the consortium, said: “What VentilatorChallengeUK has achieved in the space of twelve weeks is nothing short of incredible, creating and producing an approved product and setting up production facilities on this scale would normally take years.

Some of the final ventilators produced by the consortium waiting to be despatched. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA WireSome of the final ventilators produced by the consortium waiting to be despatched. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

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“I am immensely proud of the energy, determination and ingenuity shown by every business in responding to this national need.

“Together, we have helped ensure the NHS has always had access to the number of ventilators it needs, and we’re pleased to have also contributed to building a resilient stock should ventilators be required in the UK in the future.”

Across the consortium, 3,500 people were recruited and trained to work on socially-distanced assembly lines.

The businesses who were involved will now return to their regular production work.

They were praised by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, who said: “The Ventilator Challenge has been a great success and I would like to thank every manufacturer and designer, and their incredible workforces, for the huge part they’ve played in the national effort to

protect our NHS and save lives. The Ventilator Challenge has shown that UK manufacturing always rises to the challenge at a time of

national need. Everyone involved is truly a hero of the coronavirus crisis.”


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