Answering the nation’s need for volunteers

In answer to the urgent NHS call for support, the University of Leicester is encouraging staff and students to volunteer to support the national response to COVID-19. Those interested can register on a specially created database. From here they may be asked to work as voluntary healthcare assistants, porters, secretaries and more.

The University will act as a lynchpin between the NHS and the volunteers helping to alleviate any administrative pressures from the health service and rapidly provide suitable candidates as the need arises.

Professor Philip Baker, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Life Sciences, Dean of Medicine said: “The University of Leicester is proud to be doing all it can to support the vital work of our NHS colleagues during this unprecedented time of national need. The NHS has an overwhelming job in front of it - our dedicated staff and students are determined to put the care of patients first and help in whatever capacity they can. This is about being prepared, organised and trained to support where we can.”

Training and graduating medical students will be able to progress as planned and serve as newly qualified doctors at the front line of the NHS. In addition, there will be opportunities for medical and allied health students to undertake training to become health care assistants, who can then be called upon as needed.

Dr Megan Evans is Clinical Research Fellow at the University of Leicester and Honorary Public Health Registrar holds a joint position between both. In her capacity as a public health doctor, Megan has been supporting the regional and national response to COVID-19.

She said: “As we know, the situation is rapidly evolving, and I was recently seconded to Public Health England Colindale to support the national response centre there. I spent two weeks in the Clinical and Epidemiology Cells, contributing to national preparedness plans and immediate public health responses.”

Megan’s role in this capacity has involved managing complex clinical enquiries and undertaking core epidemiological functions. She continues to support the regional public health response here in the East Midlands and will be spending a day a week with the COVID-19 response centre at PHE East Midlands.

University laboratory equipment is also set to support COVID-19 testing, after the Government announced that 25,000 tests are to be conducted daily. To further assist, the University is donating qPCR testing machines from its laboratories. So far, 5 machines have been donated.

Volunteering, from both staff and students, to help the NHS is being actively encouraged by the University. The only pre-requisites are enthusiasm, readiness to work at short notice and an ability to adapt. University of Leicester staff and students can communicate their availability by completing the form online.

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