Government puts in order for 15,000 ventilators, built by a company in Abingdon

PIC: Cabinet Office/PA Wire

Penlon's Prima ES02 model has been authorised for use in hospitals.

An order for 15,000 more ventilators has been confirmed by the Government after the first newly adapted design backed by a high-tech manufacturing consortium received regulatory approval.

Hundreds of units are expected to be built by Abingdon-based Penlon over the next week, with production being further scaled up in the coming weeks.

The firm has worked with the VentilatorChallengeUK (VCUK) consortium, which includes Formula One racing teams Mercedes, McLaren and Williams.

The device is an adaptation of previous models and is designed to provide support to critically ill patients with a range of functions including volume and pressure-controlled ventilation.

The first 40 of the devices were being sent to the military distribution site at MoD Donnington today (16/04) for onward delivery to the NHS.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove said: "The approval of Penlon's device underlines the significant progress being made in the Ventilator Challenge.

"I pay tribute to the incredible ingenuity and commitment of our manufacturing industry, coming together as part of the national effort to protect the NHS and save lives."

As well as the Formula One teams, the consortium includes Ford, Siemens, Rolls-Royce, Airbus, and BAE Systems.

Dick Elsy, chairman of VCUK, said: "I'm very pleased to confirm that we have now secured MHRA approval for the Penlon Prima ES02 device which has been undergoing stringent testing and clinical trials for the last two weeks.

"Ventilators of this type are complex and critical pieces of medical equipment so ensuring the absolute adherence to regulatory standards and meeting clinical needs were always our priorities.

"We will now accelerate the ramp-up of production at the Penlon site in Oxfordshire and the new VCUK production lines we've built in Broughton, Dagenham, Woking and Maidenhead.

"Having already commenced deliveries of the Smiths Group's paraPAC plus devices, we are working closely with our supply chain partners to rapidly scale up production to achieve our target of at least 1,500 units a week of the combined Penlon and Smiths models.

"I want to take this opportunity to again thank every member of the consortium and the hundreds of dedicated colleagues who have been working day and night to get us to this point."

The Cabinet Office said more than 10,000 mechanical ventilators are now available to NHS patients, with that number set to rise from the increase in production and products imported from overseas.

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