Intersurgical is now making 1,450 i-view video laryngoscopes each day
More than 500 staff at a Wokingham-based medical supplies firm are involved in a huge effort to make vital hospital equipment to save lives of people with coronavirus.
A staggering 900 people have asked about joining the workforce at Intersurgical to help the fight against the virus. They include those laid off work because of the virus, students and others.
Among the company’s projects is making equipment to help Covid-19 patients at the new temporary Nightingale Hospital in London breath.
The hospital at the ExCel centre in the docklands will treat up to 4,000 patients.
In the last few days Intersurgical, in Molly Millars Lane, has sent equipment to two of the groups making thousands of urgently needed ventilators for the UK.
Intersurgical managing director Charles Bellm said: “Many friends and family of existing staff have been in touch about jobs. Local people have been fantastic. We’re taking on staff every single day and running extra shifts.
“By tomorrow (Friday) we’ll have 70 extra staff. We have to manage the numbers we bring in new each day so they can be trained and inducted.
“At the moment there is no cap on numbers. We will keep taking in about five more each day.”
Mr Bellm said that the 70 new staff were on fixed term contracts that could be extended. At present the company had sufficient applications for work there.
He added: “The staff have been epic, amazing. It’s a whole team effort. I’m incredibly proud of them.
“Our designers, lab technicians and sales reps have moved into production and the warehouse. People are doing huge amounts of overtime. They’ve cancelled their holidays to come in.
“The staff are doing a super job. We’re doing the best we can to help in a very, very strange world at the moment.”
The equipment they make includes the connections between patients and their ventilators, tubes, masks and filters. It is going to hospitals in the UK and the rest of the world.
Mr Bellm said that his company had been making 100 i-view video laryngoscopes a day. That total has shot up to 1450 a day. “This equipment is key to treating covid patients. It’s a camera to look down the throat for blockages, so patients are intubated properly.”
He praised local companies’ support including Brown Bag café at Wokingham which is supplying about 350 lunches a day, Opsec Printing of Wokingham and medical diagnostic products company Apacor, of Fishponds Road, Wokingham.
Intersurgical, a family business, moved to Wokingham nearly 30 years ago. Its head office is in Molly Millars Lane. It employs 4,000 people worldwide with factories in China, Lithuania, Italy and Guernsey.