HMP Kilmarnock making PPE for local hospitals

Published: 24 Apr 2020

Officers at HMP Kilmarnock, managed by Serco on behalf of the Scottish Prison Service, have been busy making Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for the local NHS Ayrshire & Arran Maternity Hospital and Woodland View secure and supportive inpatient facility.

It started when HMP Kilmarnock was contacted to ask if it could help to produce hospital scrubs as there is a huge shortage in Scotland, particularly in Ayrshire, due to the Coronavirus pandemic.  Officers at the prison were keen to help and are now dealing directly with the organisation ‘For the love of Scrubs’.

The work is being done by members of staff in the textile workshop, and so far Kilmarnock has completed 51 sets of scrubs and is now procuring more elastic so they can continue the work.  As there are an increased number of organisations rising to the challenge to support the NHS teams across the country, it’s challenging to obtain the correct material for making these garments, but Kilmarnock continues to churn out as many scrubs as they can with the material that is delivered to them.

Furthermore, the prison has started making another item of clothing for the NHS which is called a ‘cap ear/elastic saver’.  This is an item that will allow NHS staff to wear surgical masks without causing discomfort or pain to the back of their ears. The initial request is for “hundreds” but we expect that number to increase. 

Pamela Swan, Acting Director of HMP Kilmarnock said: “I am so proud of my Serco colleagues – they have been so quick and eager to assist with this important initiative, and they have my full support. It is crucial in these unprecedented times that we provide any assistance we can to our NHS colleagues.”

The organisation ‘For the love of scrubs’ was created by Mirka and Maja Jankowska of Mirka Bridal Couture after discovering, through a larger UK Facebook group, there was a shortage of scrubs in the NHS. Joined by Holly Baxter-Weir of Fabric Bazaar and Clare Boyle of The Kind Earth Co-op, Maja set up a fundraiser and put out a call for machinists. Less than 48 hours later funds of over £10,000 had poured in and over 1,200 volunteers have been in touch.  Maja, Holly and Clare head up a team of co-ordinators all over Scotland getting in touch with hospitals, GPs and other medical personnel to make sure the efforts of their army of volunteers are being directed to where it's most needed.