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Making masks for maternity staff

02 May 2020
4 min read
 Given the shortage of personal protective equipment in the UK, people from around the country have started sewing face masks for healthcare workers on the frontline
Volume 28 · Issue 5


Despite self-isolation, social distancing and NHS work during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sandra Denicke-Polcher and Anna Lawin-O'Brien found a way to make a joyous difference, connecting the community with healthcare providers on the shop floor

Reports about significant shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) for midwives, nurses, doctors and healthcare support staff working for the NHS and worldwide during the COVID-19 crisis dominate the news. While the government and Public Health England (PHE) denied a shortage of PPE for weeks, the situation on the frontline remains critical. Healthcare providers in many trusts face frightening shortages of visors, masks and long sleeve gowns. With a substantive number of deaths from COVID-19 among NHS staff, the government's approach to PPE provision causes health concerns among care providers at every shift.

In early March, Carolyn Paul, an obstetric consultant from the Whittington Hospital, witnessed the fear of staff working without protective equipment while caring for general patients and started to sew homemade masks to lift their mood. The masks were beautiful and Carolyn together with her colleague, consultant Anna Lawin-O'Brien, started the morale-boosting project ‘masks_for_maternity.’

Anna then reached out to her friend, Sandra Denicke-Polcher, deputy head of architecture at London Metropolitan University, to draw her attention to the low morale among maternity staff at times of PPE shortage: ‘Do you have a sewing machine and can make face masks for maternity?’

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