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March 19, 2021

Printing NHS Scrubs at Blue Sky Printing

Blue Sky Printing converted all their printers to have the ability to print NHS scrub patterns on A0 paper. Back in March 2020, we had no idea at all that we would eventually have to sleep in the shop to keep the printers running, keeping up with what ended up being over 8500 orders for patterns.

It became clear early on in the Covid 19 pandemic that NHS frontline staff didn’t have sufficient stock of scrubs. This was partly due to the huge recruitment drive of hundreds of thousands of NHS volunteers to support the front line. In addition, non-infectious disease areas within hospitals were being converted to covid wards. The result was that the demand for scrubs went up literally overnight.

Thankfully, rising to this challenge was Ashleigh Linsdell, a frontline nurse from Cambridge. She along with the support of her husband, George Linsdell, set up what became known as the For the Love of Scrubs (FTLOS) Facebook page.

Ashleigh set up regional hubs and organised the sourcing of quality fabric and copyright free patterns enabling tens of thousands of volunteers to make scrubs. Regular drop offs were arranged to hospitals that urgently needed the scrubs.

In a statement Ashliegh made in a BBC interview before receiving an OBE to acknowledge her work she said: “I had no idea that it would snowball and escalate, but we have helped hundreds of thousands of front-line workers to be safe, which then ensures our patients are safe.” Ever the humble person, she goes on to say “We wouldn’t be where we are without our thousands of volunteers”

How and why did Blue Sky Printing join the movement?

Towards the end of March we were contacted by a volunteer in the FTLOS facebook group, asking if we could donate 200 sets of patterns to a local Colchester & Ipswich hospital. We were more than happy to do so but it quicky became apparent that there was still a desperate need for quality patterns nationwide. Blue Sky Printing Co-Founder, Jon Webb, describes that “I was shocked to find that the only places volunteers could buy full sized patterns were charging between £16 and £35 for each scrub pattern.”

We converted all our printers and managed to be able to offer the patterns for just £4 including postage. That was the start of April. From that moment on, both directors of Blue Sky Printing, Jon Webb and James Callaghan, worked everyday to keep up with demand. Each afternoon empty Royal Mail vans would pull up outside the shop and were then filled to the roof with scrub pattern deliveries.

Some nights they even took turns sleeping for an hour or so while the other kept the printers running in the shop, maximising the amount they could post out that day.

We even used purchased additional printers as the demand was so high.

We are very proud to have been able to support the For the Love of Scrubs charity effort and its thousands of volunteers. BBC Interview –