Volunteers still providing “eye-watering numbers of scrubs” for hospitals

A volunteer scrub hub based in Roehampton is still providing “eye-watering numbers of scrubs” to London hospitals. 

Rosie Taylor-Davies founded The Scrubbery in March.

She said: “We’re about to provide scrubs to Great Ormond’s Street Hospital. They have said and I quote: ‘We will take whatever you can make’.”

The Scrubbery have had requests for scrubs from the Royal Brompton Hospital and West Middlesex Hospital in the past two weeks. 

The charity have also received a request from a Covid-testing nurse.

Taylor-Davies began sewing scrubs for her daughter, an NHS doctor, in January after becoming aware of the national shortage. 

The owner said: “I realised very quickly that this was going to become at least a national emergency, if not a national tragedy.

“The government still doesn’t regard scrubs as PPE so, as far I am concerned, the supply chain is still not organised.

“I’ve had calls from GP surgeries, dental surgeries, they just keep on coming. We’ve provided thousands of sets of scrubs to the Royal Brompton Hospital.”

POP OF COLOUR: Volunteer Catriona McDermid has been making colourful NHS scrubs Credit: Catriona McDermid

Catriona McDermid, 27, is a volunteer with The Scrubbery and a freelance musician. 

McDermid said: “It is assumed by most people that the problem is resolved. But actually that is not the case on the ground.

“It just seems to have been swept under the carpet, and pretended that it has been fixed, when it hasn’t.”

The charity and its volunteers have provided over 15,000 units of scrubs, masks, laundry bags and gowns to several London hospitals including Kingston, Hammersmith and Chelsea and Westminster Hospitals.

Taylor-Davies said: “The idea of us was to help save lives and to tell people that we’ve got their back and to help people with their morale and mental wellbeing.

To say to the NHS we’re looking out for you, we’re doing the best we can, we want it to work, we’ll help you.”

SEW GOOD: Rosie Taylor-Davies, founder of The Scrubbery, making NHS scrubs Credit: Rosie Taylor-Davies

Taylor-Davies, who is studying for a PhD with Southampton University, stepped aside from her studies to focus on voluntarily making scrubs. 

She said: “I can’t sit at my desk studying when I know that people may die because they don’t have the right clothing.

“I invested £1,500 of my own money into cloth, I borrowed the hall at St Mary’s Church, and I laid up cloth to the length of the hall, which is 9.25 metres.”

The founder, formerly Head of Commercial Studio at the Royal School of Needlework, is hoping to push the government to develop a sustainable plan to manufacture scrubs via this petition.

Taylor-Davies said: “Somebody needs to do something, while the government bumbles and fumbles.

“We’ve got hundreds of costume designers, theatre personnel, all sorts of people who can’t work because there’s no entertainment industry. Why can’t these people be contracted directly to hospitals to make scrubs?”

WRAPPED UP: Finished scrub kits ready for distribution. Credit: Rosie Taylor-Davies

The Scrubbery has more than one hundred volunteers. The oldest volunteer is 88 and the youngest is 13.

The founder said: “It has been quite hard working till the early hours of the morning, seven days a week. I haven’t been anywhere at all except for home and the scrub hub.

“We should have been in a better position because [the UK] was fore-warned, and what did we do with that? Nothing.”

McDermid insisted: “If you are in the South-West, get involved with The Scrubbery – they are amazingly well-organised.”

Feature Image Credit: Rosie Taylor-Davies

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