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Beacon’s Contribution During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID -19 pandemic has taken its toll on us all, the impact has been profound, and the consequences are certain to be felt for years to come. As individuals and businesses, we have had to adapt to the challenging environment we have found ourselves. I wanted to give some personal insight into the past year, how me & my colleagues have supported and continue to support our local NHS trusts, clinical commissioning groups and other local healthcare services in the most challenging of times.

It all started on the 19th March, 2020. The gravity of the pandemic and its far-reaching impact on health services was becoming clearer by the day. Beacon’s head office is located only a few hundred metres away from our local GP practice. As suppliers of personal protective & respiratory protective equipment, we approached them to see if we could help. The response we had was incredibly humbling.

‘Once again I have to express our thanks and appreciation.  As you saw, we are overwhelmed with your gesture. You cannot appreciate how much safer this will make the staff and GPs feel while trying to support our patients and continue to provide medical care where we can.’

We were stunned at the speed in which our local GP practice put us in touch with other local healthcare services. The response very quickly became overwhelming, and we began to utilise our expertise in face fit testing and the supply of half mask respirators. I remember sitting at home one evening after work and receiving an email from a Doctor and Clinical Director.

‘Dear Chris, we received our delivery on Friday, thank you so much, the items you delivered will literally save lives of doctors on the front line. Thank you again on behalf of Northamptonshire.’

We knew there would be more we could do to help and so on 25th March I contacted our local NHS hospital trust. They were struggling to procure PPE through their normal supply chains and were forced to try and procure PPE from alternative sources. It soon became clear to me they had been let down on numerous occasions. We were determined not to repeat this once Beacon has been trusted to fulfil their PPE requirements. The whole team at Beacon rallied round and within 2 days we had dispatched tens of thousands of safety spectacles, half mask respirators, P3 filters, powered respirators, protective suits and fluid repellent surgical masks.

‘That’s great… You have been really helpful, I really want to say to you and the drivers who delivered today, I really appreciate everything you have done.

Our production team then began to work with the manufacturing Technology centre, developing a prototype for an AGP shield for use within the NHS when intubating COVID-19 patients. These were completed over the weekend and sent back for approval. Once approved, Beacon began mass production and very quickly these were being used in the field to protect NHS staff looking after their patients.

That same weekend I received a call from a clinical commissioning group urgently requesting PPE for use within local hospital’s & domiciliary care providers. We were met at our yard on Sunday morning with emergency service personal to transport the PPE straight to where it was needed.

‘Could I just add a very heartfelt thank you for your help which I have greatly been appreciative of’.

Our Fit2Fit engineers from across our branch network embarked on what has become a continuous mission of face fit testing, ensuring RPE fits the user correctly.

Over the next few months and to date, our details have been passed onto other neighbouring hospital trusts. It has been a humbling experience to see the amount of work the NHS has put into keeping its staff and its patients safe. I know all of us at Beacon feel a tremendous amount of pride for our small contribution to help health care services through this Pandemic. There is no doubt the past year has been nothing short of terrible, but it has been incredible to see our team come together and offer a service we can truly be proud of.

We have continued and will continue to do everything we can to keep our NHS heroes supplied with the level of PPE they so deserve.

Chris Cotterell

Branch Manager