Charity full of praise as public offer supplies to coronavirus NHS staff

People have been offering “palettes” of supplies to NHS staff fighting the coronavirus as donations have increased through the crisis, according to one charity.

The St George’s Hospital Charity (SGHC) in Tooting, south London, has received welfare packs, toiletries and food from local businesses as well cash donations to help support medics working round-the-clock during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The supplies coming in have “definitely increased” since the outbreak began, their head of fundraising said.

Sally Barney told the PA news agency: “It’s safe to say that the support that all of the staff have been getting – not just the doctors and nurses but the porters and the cleaners – is incredible.

“We have people wanting to donate palettes of snacks and fresh food, it’s just been amazing.”

London is the region worst affected by the illness – with 168 deaths as of Wednesday, 17 of which were at St George’s University Hospitals NHS trust sites.

As well as donations given directly to the charity, an online fundraiser sat at more than £21,400 on Thursday afternoon.

Messages left on the JustGiving page praised the “amazing work that the hospital and all the teams are undertaking”, and said “the work everyone in the NHS departments are doing for the whole nation is truly outstanding and immensely appreciated”.

Funds have been used to purchase kit including personal protective equipment (PPE) and 50 blood pressure monitors, meaning that women with high-risk pregnancies can check themselves at home, rather than travelling into the hospital, something “that’s going to make a massive difference.”

Ms Barney explained: “Every time I refresh [the page] it it goes up, it’s just incredible.

“It’s so heartwarming to see the comments people are leaving when they donate.”

She added: “We are so lucky because it feels like we are the heart of a very diverse community, but I think what we’re seeing here is absolutely unprecedented in terms of the warmth towards the NHS generally and people in our local area wanting to support in any way they can.”

Doctors and nurses in Birmingham are also getting coronavirus help from the public.

The University Hospitals NHS Trust charity, which looks after four hospitals across the city, has seen a “huge amount” of  from the public and businesses.

As well as recent packages given by John Lewis and British Airways, the charity are suggesting donations of £2 to provide staff with some biscuits, £5 for some tea and coffee, or £200 for a tablet which would give patients the opportunity to receive video calls from friends and family.

Mike Hammond, chief executive of University Hospitals Birmingham Charity, said: “A huge thank you goes to everyone who has reached out to support our amazing nurses, doctors and everyone across our hospitals.”

The Government have praised those offering charitable donations to healthcare workers.

Baroness Tina Stowell, chairwoman of the Charity Commission, said: “British people have a proud tradition of charitable giving and generosity, and this pandemic is already giving rise to that spirit of charity and community that brings people together.”

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