Bournemouth University (BU) staff have come together to donate essential equipment to NHS frontline workers countering Coronavirus (COVID-19), with further plans to loan a lifesaving ventilator machine and use 3D printers to make face visors.
Last week, boxes of personal protective equipment (PPE) from BU’s teaching, practice and fieldwork stores were sent to the distribution centre for local NHS Trusts, who coordinate sending this equipment where needed. Talks with the distribution centre began at the end of March to discuss what the university could supply. Within a week, both the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences (HSS) and the Faculty of Science & Technology (SciTech) had coordinated equipment loans, volunteers, and the collection and delivery of PPE. Gloves, masks, surgical gowns, hand gel, hand sanitiser and safety glasses were among the items donated.
It’s just part of BU’s effort to support the NHS during the pandemic. In February, after talks between academic staff and their collaborators in the NHS, SciTech loaned four polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines, technology which could help detecting the virus and vital for testing.
There are plans to loan more equipment if needed. Deirdre Sparrowhawk, HSS Faculty Director of Operations, said: “We are arranging with Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to loan a ventilator and anaesthetic machine and are waiting on where they require this to be delivered.”
The Faculty of Health and Social Sciences has strong links with local Trusts and trains a number of health professionals, including nurses, midwives and other Allied Health Professionals. Deirdre continued: “Many of our students are key workers, as well as some staff and will be working on the frontline. Any help we can give in this crisis is incredible. Both faculties’ staff and Estates staff have made this possible.”
Members of BU’s Faculty of Science & Technology are continuing their efforts to help. They have offered a list of Biomedical Scientists and Engineers and their expertise to the NHS for support in testing and other areas. Richard Glithro, a SciTech Demonstrator, is producing face visors in the 3D printing lab after requests from NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group.
Kelly Deacon-Smith, SciTech Faculty Director of Operations, said: “Our Design team has successfully made a prototype on our 3D printers and are awaiting supplies so that we can start producing as many as possible for the NHS.”
Kelly continued: “Many staff have said this is a very humbling experience as the amount of support offered has been amazing. Staff have proactively offered to help from a range of departments and roles, and it has been a great response to support our NHS.”
BU continue to collaborate with the NHS and offer support, time, expertise and equipment as and when needed. Deirdre added: “Faculty staff are looking at how they can help in practice within the local Trusts and BU are supporting them to do this wherever we can.”