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A Helping Hand for Frontline NHS


A Helping Hand for Frontline NHS

Medical students at Newcastle University are stepping up to lend a hand during the Covid-19 crisis.

Increasing pressures

Many healthcare workers are facing increasing pressures. This is due to long challenging hours and last-minute changes to schedules.

Healthcare workers are also feeling the strain of balancing these commitments with childcare and other responsibilities.

A team of fourth and final year Newcastle University students are helping frontline healthcare workers work through this unprecedented disruption. This work is part of a national initiative.

Adult and child painting pictures

Helping Hands

Sabina Wallace-King has co-founded the regional group of Helping Hands. She is a final year medical student at the University. A team of students will help cover care for hospitals in Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland, Teesside and Durham. This group of volunteers are offering practical help with:

  • childcare
  • assisting with shopping
  • even providing animal care

“It’s a very uncertain time for people,” said Sabrina. “The NHS will be put under significant strain as medical staff deal with the unprecedented pressures this public health crisis will sadly bring.

"We want to do all we can to help the health service run smoothly and support those who are working on the frontline to save lives.”

More and more students are signing up

The project allows the students to draw on their existing childcare and animal care experiences. The students have already been DBS Criminal Record checked so they can hit the ground running. Already many people have approached the group for help. Fortunately, more and more students are offering their assistance, including:

  • medical students
  • student occupational therapists
  • student nurses
  • student physiotherapists
  • student teachers

Easy access to the service for NHS staff

For NHS staff, accessing the service couldn’t be easier. They can approach the volunteer service online via Facebook. They then outline:

  • what care support they need
  • their general location
  • what times they need help

The safety of the students, NHS workers and those getting care, is paramount. Measures are in place by the Medical Students Helping Hands group to ensure this safety as much as possible.

Staff express pride at the dedication and determination of our students

Professor Steve Jones, Head of the Medical School at Newcastle University, said: “The students’ initiative shows how dedicated and determined they are in helping the NHS. It certainly makes me very proud to be Head of the Medical School.

“I know that the volunteer scheme has been much appreciated in the hospitals throughout the North East. Now that schools have shut this will be even more important to NHS staff.

"The students’ efforts have been a boost to everyone at the University and among many in the healthcare community.”

Accessing support

For NHS staff at Newcastle, Northumbria and Sunderland 

Find out more information here

For NHS staff at Teesside, Sunderland and Durham

Find out more information here

The students’ initiative [...] certainly makes me very proud to be Head of the Medical School.

Professor Steve Jones, Head of the Medical School, Newcastle University