Healthcare specialist finds itself on the frontline in Coronavirus battle


A Lancashire firm has found itself propelled into the front line in the global war against the Coronavirus epidemic.

Vernacare, which is based in Chorley and has a factory in Bolton, manufactures a range of infection control products and exports them to more than 50 countries.

And while the world has been bought to a standstill by the pandemic the company has been forced to work seven days a week to cope with the massive demand for its products.

Vernacare makes wipes that kill viruses within 15 seconds, they are being used extensively in the UK and across the world.

The firm has also been supplying hospitals with disposable products for patient testing, toileting and bathing.

The products ensure that the risk of transmission from patient to healthcare worker is kept to an absolute minimum.

The specialist firm has been at the forefront of the crisis from the very beginning and directly supplied hospitals in Wuhan with the support of the Foreign Commonwealth.

Currently their products are used in 95% of NHS hospitals and demand is expected to soar in recent weeks.

Due to the nature of the products Vernacare employees have been defined as “key workers”.

Sales are at an all-time high as the NHS rapidly expands its capability the firm is expecting even more orders to come flooding in.

Hakeem Adebiyi, international sales and marketing director of Vernacare, said: “We’ve had to adapt as a business to the changes in the marketplace during these unprecedented times.

“Our range of products has a role to play in the healthcare setting to halt the spread of Covid-19 and as a result global demand has increased.

“We have moved to seven days a week production at our sites in the north west and the response of our team has been magnificent. We are also working with our supply chain to ensure continuous supply of materials and consistency of quality.”

Vernacare factory

He added: “A major challenge for the business is logistics, and we are working hard with international governments and transport partners to ensure our products are shipped as borders are closing.

“Different countries require different shipping methods, right down to packaging restrictions so having that local market knowledge is essential when processes are speeded up but quality has to be maintained.

“We are complying with government guidelines and where possible, our employees are working from home. Those that are vital to the manufacturing and shipping process are staying safe.”

Hakeem said: “We work with healthcare providers across more than 50 countries and our technical and sales teams are helping our customers to put systems in place that mirror the World Health Organisation’s guidance on single use products which helps to control infection rates.

“As well as wipes and gels that are used to contain the virus, we’ve seen huge spikes in demand for our single use toileting system.

“Usually hospitals take many months to plan, install and train staff to use the system but during such pressured times, the process has speeded up to ensure healthcare professionals and patients are protected.

“Our Canadian office is supporting major hospital centres across Canada as they start to see their cases of COVID19 rise (Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver) in addition to working closely with our partners in the US market to support the need for clean single use disposables as they bring on extra beds in hard hit areas like NYC.

“We are experiencing increased demand from Spain, Italy, the Nordic countries but also Ireland, India, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East as the spread of the virus continues.

“At the start of the outbreak, we worked with partners in the commonwealth office to supply product via their teams to Wuhan to help improve infection control rates in the epicentre of the virus outbreak.

“We will continue to work with our partners to ensure we can deliver the products needed by the NHS and our international partners and in our small way, support them in the fight against this virus.”