The French company behind the Vauxhall, Peugeot and Citroen brands has given the NHS some 50,000 face masks to help fight coronavirus. Groupe PSA will issue the personal protection equipment (PPE) to NHS hospitals and care homes near the Vauxhall plants in Cheshire and Bedfordshire, as well as locations near the company’s HQ in Coventry.
The face masks, which are due to be shipped this week, will head for the Countess of Chester and Arrow Park hospitals in Cheshire, and the Luton & Dunstable Hospital in Bedfordshire. The remainder will be sent to care homes in and around Coventry, where Groupe PSA’s UK head office is situated.
“The heroes, both in the NHS and in care homes, are leading the fight on the front line against the Covid-19 pandemic,” said David Connell, Groupe PSA’s human resources director. “Groupe PSA is proud to be able to support them with this worthwhile donation.”
In making the donation, Groupe PSA, which also runs French premium marque DS Automobiles, has become the latest to send much-needed PPE to frontline services. Amid the coronavirus crisis, several car makers with connections to the UK have made similar pledges, sending face masks and gowns to NHS staff and other key workers.
Earlier in the crisis, Nissan announced it was using its Sunderland factory to distribute 3D-printed face masks to NHS trusts. Shortly after, the company announced it had turned parts of the dormant production line over to the manufacture of plastic aprons for NHS staff.
Similarly, Bentley sent more than 30,000 face masks to care homes near its factory in Crewe, Cheshire, while also distributing gloves, gowns and safety glasses to health services. The company even offered seat covers to any frontline services that needed them.
Other manufacturers to join the PPE effort include Aston Martin, which has made gowns and visors, as well as working on a respiratory protection device. Ford, too, began making face masks at its technical centre in Dunton, Essex, while MG matched Bentley’s donation of 30,000 face masks.
And the car industry has also helped in other ways, with Nissan, Peugeot and MG all offering key workers the use of demonstrator cars. Jaguar Land Rover has loaned around 160 cars to the Red Cross and similar organisations worldwide, while seven UK-based F1 teams worked with the government to build ventilators for the NHS.
Smaller contributions have also been made by other automotive businesses, with dealers loaning cars to good causes and the AA offering free breakdown assistance to NHS staff. Some car makers also extended their roadside assistance schemes to help healthcare staff and other key workers.