“In the context of a pandemic, the state can be more then just a customer for these companies. Although I welcome the fact that a number of new ventilators have been purchased for Irish hospitals, I believe the Government could also engage proactively in partnership with this sector to see what public supports or resources could be directed towards a rapid scaling up of production”.
While in the UK, there is discussion currently of redirecting manufacturing capacity from different sectors such as automobile production into medical device production, Senator Higgins noted that Ireland's already established strength and expertise in the medtech area means there are facilities and skilled workers which might be very naturally adaptable to ventilator production.
“I have been talking to current and former employees of a number of companies in the medtech area, including engineers and those with production line experience and many believe that if resources and skilled staff were redirected towards this key product, the output of life-saving ventilators could be scaled up significantly over the coming months. There may also be potential for redeployment or retraining of workers who have lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 shutdown.”
“A significant increase in the number of ventilators available for vulnerable individuals in intensive care will be important for our own hospitals, but it could also be a valuable contribution to the public health systems in other countries. This is another way Ireland can show leadership in response to this global crisis."