O’Neills in new deal to manufacture reusable medical gowns for UK supplier

CO Tyrone sportswear giant O’Neills has announced a new deal to manufacture medical gowns for a UK supplier.

The Strabane company and Ireland’s largest sportswear manufacturer, transitioned its business in March to make tens of thousands of scrubs in response to a surge in demand from the health trusts during the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now it is working on a new reusable isolation gown product under licence from Anze Limited.

Formerly known as Buckley Lamb Limited, O’Neills’ new partner has specialised in protective clothing since 1972.

Based in Sutton-in-Ashfield, near Mansfield, it now specialises in reusable surgical gowns, drapes and wraps.

The Strabane firm’s managing director, Kieran Kennedy, said O’Neills will make the gowns using high density, fluid repellent microfibre polyester fabric.

He said the gown is CE marked as a medical device and IS compliant with European standards.

Mr Kennedy said the product will offer a more sustainable alternative to single-use gowns; and are designed to be wash resistant and steam sterilized.

“O’Neills aim to be part of the solution to decrease reliance on the overseas supply chain for critical healthcare apparel,” said the managing director.

“We want to protect our frontline healthcare heroes with a first-class local solution available at our production facilities in the north west.

“Our capability to manufacture scrubs and gowns locally offers greater control, shorter turnarounds and has a less damaging impact on the environment.

“We are constantly innovating as a company. As a vertically integrated manufacturer, we have been able to respond quickly and effectively to the needs of the healthcare sector during the pandemic and will continue to grow the range of products we offer to our customers.”

Richard Lamb from Anze Limited welcomed their new partnership with O’Neills.

He said global shortages in personal protective equipment (PPE) during the coronavirus pandemic had highlighted the over reliance on sources for critical supplies.

“Family-owned businesses such as Anze Limited with local, vertical supply chains, have responded to the demand and been consistent on quality,” said Mr Lamb.

“O’Neills is a like-minded company which has the expertise and capacity to deliver reusable isolation gowns manufactured to the highest standards, meticulously designed to protect the user and we are looking forward to working with their team.”

Chair of Invest NI, Rose Mary Stalker, has also welcomed the announcement.

“Building PPE production capability and capacity in NI helps to sustain local employment, equipping our healthcare sector with a timely and reliable source of high quality products and grow sales into wider markets.

“We are delighted to see innovative local companies such as O’Neills pivot their business to assist the healthcare sector during these unprecedented challenging times.”

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