Medical technology firm Medtronic has moved its Galway facility to a 24/7 operation to meet ventilator demand.

In response to the Covid-19 outbreak, ventilator-maker Medtronic is ramping up its operation in its Galway factory as it seeks to more than double its capacity to manufacture and supply ventilators.

There are currently 250 employees working at the Galway facility, dedicated to manufacturing the device, with plan to double that number imminently.

“Medtronic recognises the demand for ventilators in this environment has far outstripped supply”

The company, which is headquartered in Dublin, has said that additional shifts have been put in place and new manufacturing shift patterns are being introduced to bring the plant to 24/7 operations to produce more ventilators.

Ventilators are considered critical in the fight against the Covid-19 disease as they permit an infected person’s lungs to rest while the machine supplies oxygen and stimulates breathing.

“Medtronic is committed to getting more ventilators into the market and to the right locations in the world to help doctors and patients dealing with Covid-19”

Across the globe, there is a shortage of intensive care unit ventilators to deal with the expected surge in patients who become critically ill and need oxygen and breathing assistance to survive.

“With a strong commitment across Medtronic and its suppliers – combined with the increased staffing – the company expects to be able to more than double its manufacturing capacity for ventilators,” the company said.

Medtronic said it was prioritising high-risk and high-need areas for distribution through its supply chain.

“Medtronic recognises the demand for ventilators in this environment has far outstripped supply,” said Bob White, executive vice-president at Medtronic.

“No single company will be able to fill the current demands of global healthcare systems. However, with all manufacturers increasing their production and through partnerships with governments, hospitals and global health organisations, Medtronic is committed to getting more ventilators into the market and to the right locations in the world to help doctors and patients dealing with Covid-19,” he added.

Medtronic employs more than 4,000 people across five sites in Galway, Dublin and Athlone, and has been in Ireland since 1981.

Employing more than 90,000 people around the world, Medtronic is among the world’s largest medical technology companies.

The European Commission has announced a €50m plan to stockpile medical equipment such as ventilators and protective masks, as the EU continues to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

By Stephen Larkin

Published: 20 March, 2020

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