Students and staff offer groundbreaking support to NHS

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Researcher Elizabeth Bishop models her 3D face shield.

MEDICAL students and engineers from the University of Warwick have been doing groundbreaking work to support the NHS in the fight against coronavirus.

Researchers have been designing and creating new products, including protective equipment for NHS staff, while 120 final-year students from Warwick Medical School have been volunteering in hospitals across the area.

PhD researcher Elizabeth Bishop has designed a new face shield which can be produced on a 3D printer in just six minutes – a fraction of other designs – and the university’s engineering department has already printed hundreds for use by NHS staff. Other labs across the university’s research departments, which are currently closed, have donated their personal protective equipment.

Warwick Manufacturing Group, an academic department at the university, has helped develop a new type of ventilator, the exovent, which they are planning to scale up from a prototype to be used in intensive care units.

And two researchers at the medical school are using supplies from the campus laboratory to make more of the reagents that are in short supply for Covid-19 testing. The reagents will be used at UHCW’s Coventry Hospital site for testing on patients.

Meanwhile, 30 final-year students at the medical school are volunteering at Warwick Hospital, undertaking duties such as clerking patients, administrative tasks and operating a doctor ‘buddy’ system. Another 90 are working in Coventry and Nuneaton.

Even security staff at the university – on site as essential workers – are pitching in by offering free tea and coffee to any emergency service staff who pass through the campus.

The university’s vice-chancellor Professor Stuart Croft praised the “dedicated staff and students”, adding: “I want to give my personal thanks to each and every one of them – they are all inspiring people that are helping us all in these difficult times.”