Confusion over demands for PPE as Aberdeen firm Air Control Entec donates 23,000 visors to front line staff

An Aberdeen service company has produced over 23,000 face visors which it’s donating to care home staff in the continued battle against covid-19.

-Tale from China; life where covid began

Drone safety inspection company Air Control Entec were asked to put their 3D printers to use to produce face shields which could be worn by front-line staff to help protect them from catching covid-19.

ACE chief operating officer Kieran Hope told The Reporter workers were picking up visors with tears in their eyes

Chief operating officer Kieran Hope said he had no qualms refocusing his business, which provides safety inspections to oil industry installations using drones, to produce PPE during the lockdown.

Air Control Entec based in Bridge of Don normally supply drones to carry out safety inspections

Mr Hope said: “We got asked if we could put our 3D printers to use to make some face shields for care homes and front line staff workers. It feels good giving back. To know that you are doing your bit and helping people feels great because these people are taking care of loved ones and they have their own families and the last thing you want them to do is go home and give it to their kids.”

Based in the Bridge of Don ACE was originally using in-house printers to make the visors, but their equipment turned out to be too slow and so, with the help of the Oil and Gas Technology Centre, they purchased a new printer in order to meet demand for visors.

The OGTC, a taxpayer funded technology promotions company for the North East, acquired the new machine for £16,000 only for NHS Grampian to refuse the visors saying they were “not right for hospital use.”

The picture became a little more confusing when one of the care homes that received visors from ACE – Hawkhill House Nursing Home in Milltimber – said they already had all the PPE they needed throughout the pandemic.

In April the Reporter published an interview with ENT trainee at Raigmore Hospital Dr Fergus Cooper who described how he had to buy his own visor in order to save stocks describing the situation as “frustrating”.

The OGTC was established as part of the £180m Aberdeen City Region Deal

ACE continues to make visors with reports from OGTC staff involved in the project saying they have been overwhelmed by the reaction with which the donations are received.

Data shows infection rates are dropping but there are still spikes
Visors like these are being produced and donated by ACE (photo not of the visors being made)

Victoria Bentley, an administrator at the OGTC and one of the members of staff who volunteered to help ACE by packaging and delivering the visors, said she was surprised with how serious the crisis really was in care homes when she made enquiries to local homes in Aberdeen asking whether they required extra PPE.

Mrs Bentley said: “It really did shine a light when I phoned these care homes and just to hear the voices at the other end going ‘thank you’, and ‘this is such a blessing and a good thing’. When I delivered them workers would clap. It is very endearing when you see that.”

Whilst Hawkhill House did state they already had enough PPE they were thankful to ACE and the OGTC for their donations.

A spokesperson for the care home said: “We have had all the PPE we needed throughout the pandemic, nevertheless we are very grateful to The Oil & Gas Technology Centre and Air Control Entech for working together at this time and including our home in their generous donations.”

Hawkhill House Care Home said they had enough PPE but were grateful for donations received

Data from the National Records of Scotland and Public Heath Scotland shows there are still spikes in the number of new infections in care homes across the country.

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