Sewing volunteers come together to make scrubs for NHS staff

A network of amateur sewing enthusiasts is working to provide scrubs to help out NHS doctors and nurses during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Scrub Hub, there is a shortage of scrubs because some medical staff who don’t normally wear them – including consultants and GPs – have taken to using them during the crisis.

So volunteers stepped in to fill the gap, starting when a local doctor asked a mutual aid group in east London’s Hackney Wick if anyone could help her source some.

Elaine van der Schoot, one of the volunteers who have subsequently joined the network, told PA: “I reached out to a few nurse friends that I know and asked them if they require scrubs then I heard back and they told me that a few of their team at St Thomas’ didn’t have scrubs and the only ones they could get hold of were extra extra extra large.”

She got hold of a free pattern that a designer had donated and sourced fabric being offered at cost by the manufacturer.

Her first set took her around a day to put together, but now Ms van der Schoot said she can but them together in two to three hours.

The words 'NHS hero' embroidered into medical scrubs
The words 'NHS hero' embroidered into medical scrubs

And she is even adding little extras, such as embroidering “NHS hero” into the collar.

“I felt like it’s my contribution,” she said. “I was wondering what I could do because I felt a bit helpless being stuck at home and seeing the NHS going in risking their lives.”

While Scrub Hub is not working with the NHS in an official capacity, volunteers from the network are answering calls from individual members of NHS staff and are finding plenty off work to do.

“It doesn’t look like the demand is waning at all,” Ms van ser Schoot said. “I think there’s a way to go.”