A SCHEME which has more than doubled the stock of ventilators available to the NHS has concluded.

VentilatorChallengeUK - a consortium of UK aerospace, motorsport, automotive and medical businesses - formed on March 19 in response to the anticipated escalation in COVID19 cases.

The Consortium, of which Airbus has been a part, has worked with determination to deliver critical Penlon ESO 2 and Smiths paraPACTM plus ventilators to the NHS throughout the crisis.

In that time, the consortium set up seven new large-scale manufacturing facilities across the UK, with Airbus' being at AMRC Cymru in Broughton.

The total number of ventilators delivered to the NHS by the scheme is 13,437, it has now been confirmed.

VentilatorChallengeUK was due to make its last shipment of finished ventilators on Sunday (July 5), after which Consortium businesses will return to regular production.

Dick Elsy, chairman of VentilatorChallengeUK and CEO of High Value Manufacturing Catapult, said: “What VentilatorChallengeUK has achieved in the space of twelve weeks is nothing short of incredible, creating and producing an approved product and setting up production facilities on this scale would normally take years.

"I am immensely proud of the energy, determination and ingenuity shown by every business in responding to this national need.

"Together, we have helped ensure the NHS has always had access to the number of ventilators it needs, and we’re pleased to have also contributed to building a resilient stock should ventilators be required in the UK in the future.

"This coalition of the very best of this country’s people and capability across different sectors has truly showcased the strength of the manufacturing industry in the UK.

"While we have now delivered all the required ventilators to the NHS, the Consortium is looking to capture lessons learned and share them across the engineering community – and with Government – as key tools to help UK industry get back on its feet after the COVID19 pandemic has passed.”

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove, said: “The Ventilator Challenge has been a great success and I would like to thank every manufacturer and designer, and their incredible workforces, for the huge part they’ve played in the national effort to protect our NHS and save lives.

"In around three months, industry has stepped up to make new machines to save lives on the NHS frontline and to help safeguard against any future outbreak.

"The Ventilator Challenge has shown that UK manufacturing always rises to the challenge at a time of national need. Everyone involved is truly a hero of the coronavirus crisis.”