The Materials Processing Institute is using its considerable scientific and technological expertise to ensure the region’s Marie Curie Nurses can be supplied with free hand sanitiser.

Best known for its research and innovation in the fields of advanced materials, low carbon energy, the circular economy and digital technologies, it has established a specialist team to create the hand sanitiser as well as converting one of the laboratories at its Teesside campus into a production centre.

The Institute decided to act after the huge public demand for hand sanitiser in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak left the charity with dwindling supplies.

It aims to produce enough to supply one free bottle a week to all 175 Marie Curie Nurses in the North East region, which stretches from York to Tyneside, for the remainder of the crisis.

Hand sanitiser is an effective weapon against the spread of Covid-19 as the charity’s nurses continue caring for the terminally ill in their homes and at its hospice in Elswick, Newcastle.

Often this requires one-to-one nursing care and overnight support. Marie Curie also provides evening or daytime care and crisis care, ensuring they are there for families when they are in most need.

Mandy Wilkinson, Regional Manager for Marie Curie’s Nursing Service in the North East said: “Every day and night, Marie Curie Nurses and frontline staff give vital support to dying people and their families, in their homes and our hospices across the UK. These crucial services are needed now more than ever, as the NHS is put under ever greater strain. This equipment will aid us in providing this support and we are very grateful to the Materials Processing Institute for its generosity.”

Chris McDonald, chief executive of the Institute said: “This organisation may be better known for its innovations in metallurgy, advanced materials, thermo-fluid dynamics and engineering, but just at this moment hand sanitiser is a priority.

“We are all aware of the importance of protecting our critical workers through the Covid-19 pandemic. Marie Curie nurses all do an amazing job and are putting themselves at risk to care for others.

“Access to personal protective equipment is a priority, and I hope that by providing these hand sanitisers, we will help them remain safe and continue the absolutely vital work they do.”