PPE supplies across the UK are being hit hard by restrictions imposed on the export of materials and machinery from major countries.

That's according to Roy McFarlane, Managing Director of Shipton Bellinger-based Total Productivity Solutions, who are experts at procuring equipment and ramping up its supply quickly, whose company has been involved in the supply of surgical masks to Gulf states.

More than 100 businesses across the county have helped out after a request from Hampshire Chamber, on behalf of the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce, with Total Productivity helping with the logistics of the operation.

Ross McNally, Hampshire Chamber Chief Executive and Executive Chairman, said: “We had an amazing response to our e-shot which just goes to show the capability and international reach of manufacturers, exporters and supply chain firms here in Hampshire.

“We are an agent Chamber of the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce and are always pleased to play our part in the international Chamber network.”

Mr McFarlane says that his suppliers are able to get PPE to their destination in weeks, whilst most European sources are not able to deliver until December.

This is partly down to restrictions imposed on the export of machinery and materials from countries such as China and the US, the major providers of this. The duo have all prioritised the production of PPE for their own countries, having a knock-on effect on the availability for other countries, as well as prices.

"Six weeks ago, masks were around ten pence per mask and they are coming in now at 89 pence," Mr McFarlane said.

"For more intensive masks, they were a little bit less than 50 pence and now are at £1.89.

"This is largely due to two reasons. One the US stopped PPE being exported. Similarly, China has stopped exports.

"The two main suppliers are restricting their exports.

"The UK does not have a very clear message. For organisations like the NHS, it is more cost-effective to manufacture yourself than to buy wholesale."

For Mr McFarlane, he estimates he could supply one or two Trusts, based on the amount of equipment they are reported to be working through.

However, this would require the NHS acting quickly, as he is predicting further supply issues with more "pressure put on us".