Professor Andy Neely OBE, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise and Business Relations, is leading an operation to process donations of personal protective equipment and make this readily available to the NHS as part of the University's efforts to tackle the coronavirus emergency.
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen an urgent need for protective equipment in our surgeries, clinics, and hospitals, and Andy Neely and his team at the University have responded by establishing a smooth operation that is collecting this invaluable equipment from University departments, Cambridge alumni and a network of University partners around the globe.
Vital NHS-approved equipment - including face masks, disposable surgical masks, face visors, hand sanitiser, water-resistant gowns, hazmat suits, antibacterial wipes, reusable googles and protective glasses - is being donated to local GP surgeries, clinics, and hospitals as a result of the operation.
A processing centre was created to receive, store and send on the equipment, and Cambridge spin-out RedBite is providing ‘itemit’ object-tracking technology to log vital information about the donated equipment. This will ensure that only NHS-approved items are processed and sent on, and allows a wide range of local services to see what is available in real-time and order what they need.
Andy said: "The response to this emergency by the University community has been incredible. When the seriousness of the situation became clear, staff in labs across the University began collecting up all available protective equipment so it could be used by NHS clinicians treating COVID-19 patients.
"And when our alumni and partners joined in it soon became clear we needed a more co-ordinated approach to make sure the right equipment was made available to local services. The infrastructure has now been set up to deal with all of the promised donations – some of which have already arrived - and we’re ready to go.
"Tackling this outbreak will require unprecedented local, national and international efforts, and the University is committed to providing all the resources and expertise it can to support that."
The operation to co-ordinate PPE donations was set up in less than five days, and forms part of the University’s response to the pandemic, alongside the work of its researchers and engineers who are working hard to confront the virus and provide expert advice.
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