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Hugh Baird University Centre provides vital PPE equipment for the NHS

Hugh Baird University Centre provides vital PPE equipment for the NHS

by Danielle Thompson (May 2020)

STAFF and students at Hugh Baird University Centre have been providing vital PPE equipment for the NHS.

The team at the centre on Balliol Road in Bootle have been helping frontline staff in the NHS and wider care sector during the coronavirus pandemic by creating and donating Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).

By using the University Centre’s 3D printing equipment, Engineering Lecturer Kevin Donnelly has been able to printand construct fit for purpose full face visors. Students have also been able to get involved by using their Computer-Aided Design (CAD) skills at home and then emailing models for Kevin to experiment with.

A lack of PPE equipment across the NHS and care sector has resulted in reports of staff making improvised masks out of snorkels, buying kit from hardware stores and even using school science goggles to protect themselves whilst continuing to provide services to those in their care.

After 25 prototypes visors were successfully trialled at local pharmacies, doctors’ surgeries and at the Knowsley Resource Centre based within Whiston Hospital, a further 200 of the visors have also been distributed to local pharmacies and hospitals.

Kevin Donnelly said: “The College are supporting the local community in a variety of ways during this very difficult time and this made me think how my subject area could contribute and do their bit. It became apparent that we could assist in making visors for NHS staff, which staff are in desperate need of. Therefore, myself and my students set about designing the item and then printing them taking advantage of the College’s equipment and facilities.

“Given the circumstances with social distancing, students were unable to assist in the physical printing of the visors but it was great to have them involved in the design process.

“It has been a pleasure to be able to give back to our NHS staff who are doing a truly amazing job during this pandemic.”

Tina Blease, a Health and Social Care Lecturer at the College, is currently working at the Knowsley Resource Centre during the Coronavirus pandemic and was part of the trialling of the visors.

She said: "The masks are fantastic quality and fit well on all of our staff as the headband is fully adjustable. This ensures they are well fitted and provide a good level of protection while we attend to the needs of our patients. The masks allow for our expressions to be visible to our patients and due to their dementia diagnosis, this supports reassurance and allows us to engage with them positively whilst protecting ourselves and our patients from the spread of Covid-19".

Rachael Hennigan, Hugh Baird College Principal and Chief Executive added: “I am blown away by the hard work of all our students and staff, this is a great example of how people can come together for the good of our community. I would like to thank Kevin and the team for working innovatively together to help support our fantastic NHS staff and others working across the care sector.”

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