Thousands of costume designers, tailors and seamstresses have come together to make urgently-needed scrubs for NHS workers in a nationwide effort coordinated by an A&E nurse.
Ashleigh Linsdell, a nurse at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, Lincolnshire, set up Facebook group, For The Love Of Scrubs, last Monday, and within a week more than 9,000 people joined to help make PPE clothing from their homes, but they need funding.
The 29-year-old nurse and self-taught seamstress said she started making scrubs for her colleagues a week ago, after they ran out and had to wear “undignified” paper clothing.
“Imagine wearing a set of paper scrubs for an entire shift,” she said.
“They’re not dignified – if you bend over they split, it’s just horrible.”
She added: “There’s a huge nationwide demand for scrubs.
“Merseyside Hospital, for example, has asked for 400 sets of scrubs, they’re really really struggling.
“Retired NHS workers and new volunteers for the pandemic can’t wear their own clothes, and there’s not enough uniform for them.
“As this (pandemic) becomes bigger, and it will – we’re not even at UK peak yet, that’s due this week – we’re expecting it to be hell in A&E.”
Mrs Linsdell, who has a four-year-old daughter, said she appealed for help sourcing wholesale material for her homemade scrubs on a Facebook group, and within two days received messages from hundreds of people who were “desperate to help.”
The young mother, who has been a nurse for seven years, said healthcare workers can get through more than 10 sets of scrubs per shift, especially those working in “covid zones” who have to change more than usual to avoid spreading the virus.
She said within the first two days of setting up For The Love Of Scrubs, an army of volunteers made 260 sets of scrubs for their local hospitals.
They will be posted directly to launderettes at 20 hospitals around the UK, where they are washed before being used to ensure coronavirus is not passed on through them.
Mrs Linsdell and her husband George Linsdell, who phoned the hospitals while working from home as an engineer, continue to coordinate the effort from their home.
But many of the volunteers are self-employed people who are currently out of work, and cannot afford to purchase more polycotton material which scrubs are made from.
Mrs Linsdell said: “It’s now proving really difficult trying to get the materials out to people who really want to help.
“I’m hoping that by raising awareness we can get materials and stock out to people who are desperate to help but otherwise unable.”
“I can’t even put into words how fantastic it is that people want to help though,” she added.
Building on the Government’s online campaign urging people to stay at home, the innovative nurse is urging those with sewing machines who want to help the NHS to #StayHomeAndSew.