Medical staff in Skye are being kitted out with protective face shields thanks to the efforts of a volunteer team from within the local community.
National shortages of PPE, in particular face shields, sprung local men Graeme Deas, Andrew Shaw and Craig Stewart into action and together they formed Skye Shield.
After liaising with NHS Highland, Project Corran – a collaboration between Aseptium and 4c Engineering of Inverness – was chosen to design the face shields, and local IT business Sitekit offered funding and logistical support to provide the team with the materials required for an initial batch of 2000.
Additional funding has also been provided from the Highland Council Eilean a’ Cheo ward discretionary fund.
Graeme Deas, who is also a local paramedic, said Broadford and Portree Hospitals and local care homes would all get a supply of the protective shields.
The face shields are made from clear PVC plastic and medical grade foam, with a medical tourniquet acting as the elastic band.
The manufacturing process makes use of digital fabrication and a computerised machine is used for cutting the shields.
Assembly is, however, a manual process – and one that is made more difficult by the social distancing measures and hygiene guidelines that are being followed.
The contributions of Jennifer Shaw and Kirsty Watt were immediately noticeable, and they helped increase daily production to 250.
It is expected that 2000 face shields will be available for use by the end of April, with over 500 having already been delivered to local organisations.
Sitekit CEO Elgar Finlay said: “Sitekit has worked successfully with the NHS and we were delighted to be able to support our partners and colleagues through this endeavour.
“All of the Skye Shield Team should be proud of what they have achieved with this fantastic effort to manufacture and supply valuable PPE to our NHS and local community”.
Councillor John Finlayson said: “It is encouraging to see local people taking ownership of a project that supports frontline workers at this difficult time.
“Myself and my fellow councillors have been delighted to support in some small way the efforts of Skye Shield.”
Skye Shield would like to thank local business Sitekit, especially Elgar Finlay and Campbell Grant, for supplying the required materials.
In addition they thank 4c Engineering, NHS Highland and Highland Council for their support and advice during this project.