Faced with a retail lockdown, some of Britain's bed maufacturers are turning their hand to supporting the fight against Covid-19.
Among them, Wakefield's GNG Group has been awarded Key Supplier Status by the NHS. GNG's Healthcare Division, which produces medical mattresses and pressure care products, has seen a rapid increase in orders to help meet critical care needs.
"We are now focusing all our production capacity on healthcare, transferring skilled staff from our Sports, Safety & Consumer Product divisions," says MD Phil Whittell. "This means we now have 85 full-time employees split over three shifts, operating seven days a week. We have also increased our normal medical product capacity by tenfold to meet current demand."
The unprecedented upturn in demand has meant that a typical six months' worth of orders has been received within five days – yet GNG’s ability to pause its manufacturing capability across all divisions and switch to a dedicated medical mattress production line means it has risen to the challenge.
Meanwhile, Southampton's Millbrook Beds has also paused its retail mattress manufacturing operations until further notice, yet has switched its operational, manufacturing and fleet capabilities over to support the NHS and MOD with various products and services.
According to the National Bed Federation (NBF), many other UK manufacturers have pivoted production to help the NHS tackle the pandemic – including Vita Group, which has prioritised the manufacture of critical medical foam grades, and Breasley, which is making hospital mattresses, trolleys and operating table foams, plus specialist cushions to reduce pressure sores and positional aids for intensive care units.