MORE than eight million items of Personal Protective Equipment have been issued by a Wirral facility to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

The Council-managed Infection Control Measures Hub, which oversees the distribution of PPE for the Liverpool city region, has operated around the clock, seven days a week, since it opened on April 2.

In that time it has delivered gloves, masks, 1,350,000 aprons and 180,000 pieces of eye protectors to help keep hospitals, schools, care homes and emergency services safe.

The Hub was set up by Merseyside's Local Resilience Forum, a partnership of key public and private sector bodies brought together to respond to emergency situations.

It supplies hundreds of organisations, including the area's six councils, Clinical Commissioning Groups, NHS and Hospital Trusts, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and Merseyside Police, Mersey Tunnels Police, children’s homes, emergency opticians and dentists, funeral services, hospices and Liverpool prison.

In Wirral alone it has delivered 1.9 million pieces of PPE to care providers, schools and nurseries and children’s homes.

Day-to-day management has been led by Wirral Council, with staff redeployed from a wide range of different departments.

Specialist expertise has also been provided by personnel from the Royal Logistics Corps and Magenta Living and Wirral councillors have volunteered their time to help keep the operation running smoothly.

Many local organisations have donated PPE for the Hub to distribute, including, The Engineering College, North West Ambulance Service, Merseyside Police and Universities in Liverpool.

Local businesses have also donated much needed supplies, including Seqirus, LVW Group, M53 Ford, APS Group, Stollies, Pharmpac, Medicash, Kanban Solutions Ltd and Buggsy's Pizzeria. Many other local firms have wished to donate anonymously.

Local schools, including St John Plessington, Hilbre High, Woodchurch, Birkenhead Park, South Wirral High , St Mary’s Catholic College, Upton Hall , Ridgeway, St Anselm’s College, Co-op Academy, Wirral Grammar for Girls, Calday Grange Grammar and Birkenhead High have also made a massive contribution, manufacturing and donating more than 6,000 face visors.

Wirral Council leader, Cllr Pat Hackett, said: "The serious problems the whole country faced in securing and distributing PPE at the start of the pandemic are well known and should never be underestimated or forgotten.

"But through the hard work and expertise of a small team, backed by generous support from partners and local businesses, we were able to turn that situation around and establish an operation that is being held up as a national exemplar.

"Their efforts to get PPE to where it's needed quickly has stopped countless transmissions of this terrible virus and will continue to save many lives.

"I couldn't be more proud of what has been achieved by everyone at the Infection Control Measures Hub as it is yet another example of how Wirral has pulled together and led the way."

Although the work of the Hub is set to continue for at least a few more months, reduced demand and the availability of alternative supplies means the centre will soon be able to operate on more standard business hours, bringing to an end the incredible four month non-stop shift.