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NHS | Case Study

Manufacturing and supplying quality, accredited PPE to combat COVID-19

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization designated COVID-19 a global pandemic, leading to a surge in demand for medical supplies.


During the peak of the crisis, Hutchison International partnered with the NHS and used our facilities and supply chain capabilities to manufacture and supply urgently needed medical-quality accredited PPE and virus testing equipment.

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“Hutchison International's contribution is helping ensure that frontline staff have the protection they need, and we will continue to work with them and others to ensure this remains the case.” 

Ivan McKee | Trade Minister, Scottish Government

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The challenge

Procurement teams for the NHS had experienced some negative, costly issues when buying PPE and testing equipment from overseas. In some cases, the equipment had been bought and paid for but was defective and couldn’t be used. This was both a health concern and a waste of public money.


The NHS needed a reliable, low-risk method to source high-quality, cost-effective PPE and testing equipment to help curb the spread of the virus. They were looking for a supply chain partner who could quickly source high volumes of stock and manage the quality assurance process.

The solution

Hutchison International already manufactured and supplied high-grade medical products to pharma and medical brands like Johnson & Johnson and Eli Lilly from our office in China. Supported by a global network of partners, we were in a strong position to quickly adapt our existing medical-accredited production facilities and supply chain to meet NHS requirements.


Our ISO13485 medical quality assured team in China audited factories directly to inspect the products, validate the quality, and negotiate the most competitive price. The China team monitored production and inspected all products before shipping to the NHS.


This hands-on local approach assured the NHS' procurement team their products would have all the required certifications, would be of the highest quality, and would be delivered on time.

Not only could we manage suppliers, but we were also able to fund the entire process right up to the delivery, including handling all foreign currency exchange, removing all financial risk for the NHS. Upon delivery, the NHS could inspect the goods prior to authorising payments, ensuring they received the quality of products they expected.

Products supplied

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Virus collection

and transportation medium kit

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Swab testing kits



sampling swabs

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Type IIR single-use surgical mask 

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The result

In a time where international demand for PPE spiked, Hutchison International designed, developed and delivered a complete range of high-quality PPE and testing products within budget and on time. We removed risk, lowered costs, delivered faster than they could have done themselves. The entire project played out in less than a month from first orders to delivery.

Thanks to our global supply chain and certified team on the ground in China, we were able to negotiate better prices from the NHS's preferred factories than they had previously been able to negotiate remotely themselves.

We supported the NHS team by reducing their exposure to risk by funding the whole process. We also handled the currency risk and arranged additional quality inspections after arriving in the UK so the NHS had a final review opportunity before accepting the delivery.

Client feedback

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"Our National Procurement team is committed to working with suppliers that meet the highest standards. Working in partnership with Hutchison International has helped to ensure an increased supply of swab sample testing kits throughout NHS Scotland.”

Gordon Beattie | National Procurement Director at NHS NSS

“It is fantastic to see Hutchison International step up to support the national response. 


Their work with NHS Scotland and Scottish Enterprise is making a huge contribution to Scotland’s COVID19 response, and demonstrates what can be achieved when the public and private sectors collaborate.” 

Ivan McKee | Trade Minister, Scottish Government

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We develop, manufacture and deliver clinical products

for international medical brands and UK government.


We remain agile in an ever-changing industry through our established

innovation centres and global supply chain, put in place over thirty years.

​No matter what your requirements or the application, we have the expertise to help.

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