Macaulay Ford Motors, Invercargill, dealer principal Tim Rabbitte with face shields they were supplied with for work, but now donating to health services.

Great to see the team at Macaulay Motors paying it forward. These guys are great – not just because they have our exhaust fume extraction systems in their workshops…


Car dealership face shields help medical supply gap

Excess face shields from a car manufacturer have filled some important supply gaps and there are more if needed.

Macaulay Ford Motors in Invercargill received face shields made by Ford in Melbourne and when they realised they had an oversupply they re-gifted them to the Queens Park General Practice.

Dealership dealer principal Tim Rabbitte said the key message was more shields were available if any medical centres needed them.

Queens Park practice manager Andrea Hope said it was great to have a local business support them when the practice could not get shields through the usual supply chain.

“We had issues getting them right from the beginning [of the Covid-19 crisis]”, Hope said.

The practice was also installing protective screens in the reception and doing most consultations via video, she said.

Rabbitte said the dealership had an excess of personal protective equipment and when staff saw reports of medical centres struggling to get adequate supplies, they saw a chance to help.

“It’s nice to do something a bit different from what you would expect from a car dealership,” Rabbitte said.

He understood Southland Hospital could not take any because it had to go through the proper channels, but Rabbitte stressed any other medical centres in short supply need just ask.

“If you have resources or connections to help the community, grab the opportunity,” he said.

Ford Australia and New Zealand president and chief executive officer Kay Hart said Ford was ramping up production and distribution of the face shields.

Ford has deployed a core team to produce the face shields, with about 50,000 shields already made at production facilities in Melbourne.

Ford wasn’t the only charitable donators to the practice; through a Facebook community called Shields Up, a “Ben from Dunedin” used a 3D printer and supplied 15 shields.

Shields Up is a Kiwi charity delivering face masks to front-line medical workers and emergency responders.

A charity spokesperson said it had cut more than 18,000 visors and 15,300 frames as of Monday.

Hope said the shields were “theoretically” single-use, but they were being soaked in bleach and worn more than once.