University of the Highlands and Islands supports NHS response

Nursing students in Stornaway

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Students and staff from across the University of the Highlands and Islands have been lending their skills and resources to support the NHS.

Over 120 nursing and midwifery students have started their final placements early to help bolster the NHS workforce.

They are being employed as healthcare workers by NHS Highland and NHS Western Isles to contribute to the COVID-19 response. The university has also set up secondment arrangements with the organisation so that nursing and midwifery staff can work in clinical posts too.

Perth College UHI, Argyll College UHI, North Highland College UHI, Lews Castle College UHI in Stornoway, SAMS UHI in Dunbeg and the NAFC Marine Centre UHI in Shetland have donated equipment including gloves, hand sanitiser and aprons to healthcare providers across the region.

Chemicals from the university’s School of Health, Social Care and Life Science have been gifted to the NHS to help with coronavirus testing.

Several university partners have been supporting the production of visors. Perth College UHI’s creative industries department created a design for 3D printers while West Highland College UHI and Argyll College UHI have donated acetate sheets which are used to create visors.

Staff from the Highland Health Sciences Library at the Centre for Health Science in Inverness, meanwhile, have been contributing to efforts to gather and present the latest coronavirus information to assist NHS Highland’s public health department to plan and deal with the pandemic.

Professor Crichton Lang, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands, said: ‘In addition to supporting our students and staff across the university partnership to continue their studies and day to day work, we are of course keen to do all that we can to help with the management of the wider impact of the current COVID-19 epidemic on people’s lives.

‘I have huge appreciation for the efforts of all who are contributing, but especially to those students and staff who are engaging at the frontline of health and social care.’

The university partnership has also offered vehicles, buildings, services and accommodation to support key workers across the Highlands and Islands including vehicles from Argyll College UHI.

Heidi May, NHS Highland’s Board Nurse Director, added: ‘We are extraordinarily grateful to the students coming to work alongside their NHS colleagues in caring for patients as part of the COVID19 effort. Their skills and their knowledge will help us make the difference for patients and their loved ones during this unprecedented time.’