Order sent to China to supply thousands of PPE masks and gowns to health staff in Laois

Minister Charlie Flanagan's assistance helps to smooth path to help Portlaoise hospital and possibly nursing homes

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

Email:

news@leinsterexpress.ie

coronavirus covid-19

Staff at the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise wearing some of the equipment already supplied through local efforts.

An order has been sent to China to supply thousands of items of vital Covid-19 Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to Portlaoise hospital and potentially local nursing homes.

And, thanks to the assistance of Laois Offaly TD and Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, shipment obstacles have been overcome and some of the costs may be reduced on getting the masks and gowns to Laois.

The Portlaoise Hospital Action Committee and the Friends of Portlaoise Hospital campaign launched a fundraising campaign last week with the aim of raising €20,000 to import PPE. Between pledges and funds raised, sufficient funds have been collected.

The committees, with the help of Colgan's Sports, sourced a PPE manufacturer, specifically of the hard to get disposable gowns. The plan is to supply 10,000 gowns and 10,000 face masks.

Portlaoise Hospital Action Committee secretary John Hanniffy thanked Laois TD and Minister for Justice Flanagan who he said has arranged for the Chinese Embassy to assist with the shipping of PPE. He said this could greatly reduce the cost of supply.

He said the Embassy has assisted in helping to organise a freight company which is now communicating with the PPE supplier in China. 

"The main thing is that the order for gowns and masks has been placed and now the freight company is making arrangments for transportation," said Mr Hanniffy.

The equipment is due to arrive at the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise next week.

Mr Hanniffy added that the committees have been contacted by local nursing homes which are trying to source suppliers in China to help them equip their staff with the correct PPE gear to help them safely care for patients.