Volunteer group turns national army getting protective kit to where it is most needed in fight against coronavirus

A band of volunteers who decided to deliver infection-blocking safety kits to medics at four hospitals have turned into an army of helpers expanding across the country.

NHS Hero Support was founded two weeks ago by a group of professionals to get crowdfunded and donated personal protective equipment (PPE) to front line staff.

It has ballooned from a GoFundMe page with a fundraising target of £2,000 to a UK-wide support system on top of donations which are now approaching £60,000.

It has now set up supply chains to help health teams across the UK tackle the transmission of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

They had already delivered thousands of high-grade masks to University Hospital Lewisham, King’s College Hospital and St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, as well as hospices and mental health centres.

NHS Hero Support is now delivering to a growing list of hospitals approaching it for support.

NHS Hero Support co-founder Alisa Pearlstone, a medical trainer, said: “As a ‘pop-up’, we are able to respond quickly, even delivering masks to a surgeon and anaesthetist just half an hour before a scheduled operation.

“It’s truly wonderful what the people of this country have created in such a short space of time.”

Rishi Baungally, whose idea to use his international supplier network kick-started the project, said: “So far it’s a drop in an ocean of need, but every extra staff member protected can make a life-saving difference to infections, for themselves and their patients.”

“We are encouraging health professionals to contact us via our website at www.nhsherosupport.co.uk and tell us how we can help.

“Millions of us show our appreciation with the wonderful ‘Clap for Our Carers,’ but we can also support them with practical help. So, please consider making a donation to support our work via our GoFundMe campaign.”

Head of the supply chain, Rob Fraser, a conference organiser, said: “We’re set up to respond to needs as they come in.

“We’ve got a partnership with UK-based 3D printers to produce protective visors, designed in collaboration with NHS colleagues to ensure they provide the right level of protection for these circumstances, and we’ve even got a squad of volunteers in place to assemble them.”

Maggie Lin, the team’s international trade expert, added: “The people in our growing team are offering their expertise to make NHS Hero Support’s end-to-end delivery work.”

Also on the project are festival organisers, who are redeploying event staging delivery services to help with distribution on the ground, and a ventilator expert helping to track down novel sources of ventilator equipment.

Innovation expert Dr Kate Hammer said: “Having the experienced eyes of professionals from a range of disciplines brings a diversity of thinking to our rolling planning process.

“Conventional ways of working have to be adapted in the face of the Covid crisis, and as part of our work on innovative solutions, we look forward to bringing UK textile manufacturers into this.

“Britain wants to make what British healthcare workers need – gowns and scrubs are an obvious place to start.”

To contribute, go to https://uk.gofundme.com/f/nhs-heroes-support

 


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