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Yorkshire manufacturer's key Nightingale role

17 June 2020

Wirework manufacturer, Craven & Co, is using its manufacturing expertise to provide frontline medical equipment to the five new Nightingale hospitals across England.

The company is making and distributing 800 intravenous (IV) drip stands every day after being fast-tracked into the NHS supply chain because of its production capabilities.

In total, the company has delivered 4000 IV stands to ExCeL in London, and is manufacturing a further 8500 for the Nightingale hospitals in Harrogate, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol.

Craven is also producing and distributing trolleys, shelving and other medical equipment to all five hospitals, including about 1000 modular shelves in one week alone. It is fulfilling all of Harrogate’s shelving and storage requirements and the majority of Birmingham’s.

Director Wez Dance says: “As a UK-based designer and manufacturer mainly using materials from an established network of British suppliers, we have been able to quickly make and distribute medical equipment for the NHS.

“In addition, our expertise and experience in bespoke solutions has meant that, in a short space of time, we’ve been able to create a new IV stand design specifically for use in the Nightingale hospitals.”

Established in Knaresborough more than 60 years ago, Craven & Co designs and manufactures shelving, racking, trolleys and wirework products, as well as OEM and bespoke solutions, for a wide range of industries. Its medical cabinets and trolleys are usually supplied into distributors and resellers of medical equipment, rather than as a direct part of the NHS supply chain.

Managing director Noel Baker says: “We are delighted to be helping the NHS in their fight against this pandemic. All the NHS workers have inspired everyone at Craven & Co to be resolute and even more willing to go the extra mile.

“Although the supply chain has been a challenge during this crisis, we have managed to keep going where others have not. Many of the UK suppliers of equipment into the NHS offer imports from the Far East, so a lot of them are now out of stock so are unable to fulfil requirements.”

Wez described the NHS work as “a lifeline” for the business after much of its operations “literally fell off a cliff almost immediately” when coronavirus restrictions were imposed. Ordinarily, 60-70 per cent of Craven’s manufacturing output comprises products for the catering and retail sectors, which have been particularly hard hit by the current situation.

“It was like turning a tap off,” he said. Every hour we were assessing the business and what we needed to do, from contacting customers and suppliers to assessing workforce requirements.”

Just a week later, Craven was beginning work for the NHS. Its production line is now operating around the clock to meet the requirements for the new Nightingale hospitals.

Wez adds: “Losing most of our day-to-day business was extremely stressful, but it actually meant we had the capacity and resources to be able to react to the situation and produce the required equipment to the NHS in full and on time.”