Rona Scrubs co-founder Annabelle Parsons, Austin Health nurse Emily Kelso and Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green.

By Jackson Russell

Rona Scrubs is helping health care workers across the country to access much-needed scrubs when they’re needed most during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The group has recruited more than 3000 volunteers to sew scrubs with about 7000 orders already placed by health care workers.

Rona Scrubs co-founder Annabelle Parsons said the group  provided volunteers with patterns and fabric to make the scrubs, with the idea coming over a socially-distanced glass of wine.

“Dr Charlotte Ogilvy, a renal specialist and our medical lead, she and I have known each other since primary school, and we were just having a wine and she’s explaining how it was in the UK and how as a specialist, she wouldn’t get scrubs, so I offered to make her scrubs,” she said.

“That was on the Saturday night and by Sunday evening it had suddenly turned into a lot more and it’s just grown really quickly.

“The last I heard, we’re coming up to 1000 sets of scrubs but it’s hard to know exactly.”

Rather than working with particular health care providers or hospitals, Rona Scrubs has delivered scrubs directly to health care workers who are paying for scrubs from their own pockets.

While the thousands of volunteers are working away sewing scrubs, the biggest issue facing Rona Scrubs is a lack of fabric.

“The challenges are both supply, because it comes in from overseas, but also being able to get that to people across the country in their regional areas,” Ms Parsons said.

“The biggest help would be fabric and then if you can’t give us fabric, help us get money to buy fabric on behalf of heroes.”

Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green, a keen sewer herself, has chipped in and started making scrubs for Rona Scrubs.

Ms Green said she knew the plight of health care workers and how crucial it was for them to have scrubs, now more than ever.

“I’m a sewer, I love sewing, it’s my hobby, it’s my escape and I thought, I’m in isolation like all of us and it’s something I can do that’s really positive,” she said.

“I love colours, I love different patterns and I just thought it would be lovely to do some bright happy patterns for these workplaces that are doing a pretty difficult and scary job.

“I think my husband’s gotten to the point that he’s sick of having fabric up the wazoo, so he’s actually now helping me in the production line as well.”

Austin Health nurse Emily Kelso said it was crucial for health care workers to have access to scrubs.

“At the moment, all the major scrub distributors have a back order and scrubs are quite expensive to buy,” she said.

“For the amount of times you wear them and wash them, they don’t last as long as your everyday clothes.

“We pay for everything we wear, so if you’re working full time, that’s five pairs of scrubs a week. You really can’t wear them twice at the moment, so you’re washing them all the time.”

Ms Kelso said some of the bright, colourful patterns had been helpful in lifting the moods of patients who are going through a trying time.

“It’s always nice for the patients when we’re in something a bit cheery, they’re going through a hell of a time and it’s bad for us but it’s worse for them,” she said.

“Anything that makes them a little bit happier makes their recovery a lot better.”