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The first wave of supplies have now been delivered, and will strengthen NHS stock. Further donations from the University are expected.

University donates PPE to frontline COVID-19 workers in Exeter and Truro

Academics and technical staff at the University of Exeter have united to send thousands of items of protective equipment normally used in laboratories to the frontline of the NHS and the local authority, to support the battle against COVID-19.

Hundreds of boxes of gloves, along with face masks, visors and other personal protective equipment (PPE) have been sent to the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust, Devon County Council and the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, to bolster their vital supplies. It comes as Public Health England has updated guidance on PPE to frontline healthcare staff, advising that clinicians working within two metres of a suspected or confirmed coronavirus COVID-19 patient should wear an apron, gloves, surgical mask and eye protection.

In Exeter, technical services business partner Dr Lizzy James has coordinated the teams across the Streatham and St Luke’s campuses. She said: “As many of our labs were shutting down for all but the most essential work, we couldn’t think of a better use of these supplies than to get them out onto the front line where they’re most needed. Colleagues have been incredibly generous with time and donations to help make a difference.”

Physicist Dr Dave Phillips set up a database of more than 70 academics, and worked with colleagues to coordinate supplies, totalling thousands of pieces of kit. In Penryn, Professor Will Gaze and Dr Adrian Watson coordinated a donation of more than 120 boxes of gloves alone, along with other items.

Dr Phillips said: “We’re all so thankful for the outstanding work from our doctors and healthcare workers in this international crisis. They’re doing an incredible job under such difficult circumstances, and want to do whatever we can to help. This donation was a fairly obvious way we could offer support to the NHS by strengthening their supplies. I’m grateful to my colleagues who all wanted to send whatever they could to make a contribution for where it’s really needed.”

Professor Gaze said: “We were delighted to be able to do something to help our fantastic NHS colleagues. We’re the largest microbiology lab in Cornwall, so fortunately we were able to contribute significant amounts of equipment.”

The first wave of supplies have now been delivered, and will strengthen NHS stock. Further donations from the University are expected.

Dave Thomas, Interim Chief Nurse to the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I’d like to say a huge thank you on behalf of all our friends and colleagues at the University of Exeter. This donation will add to the regular supplies that we are receiving and will help us to continue to keep our staff and patients safe.”

Justin Bennetts, Strategic Procurement Manager at Devon County Council, said: “We’re extremely grateful, for this very generous donation, which will help keep council workers safe, and also to shield clients they regularly visit.”

Date: 3 April 2020

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