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Beyond the ward: Delivering PPE during COVID-19 pandemic

Like other third year medical students, Inbar Aberman’s time on placement has been disrupted by COVID-19. Once her placement ended in March, Inbar was keen to help in response to the pandemic. She now volunteers with Medical Supply Drive UK (MSDUK) – an organisation that supplies personal protective equipment to those on the front line. Here, Inbar describes her experience volunteering with MSDUK:

As a third year medical student at King’s who saw the impact of COVID-19 on placement before everything ended abruptly in March, I found MSDUK at a time when I felt I was suddenly lacking purpose and wanted desperately to make a difference to staff and their patients.

MSDUK is a non-profit organisation run by volunteer NHS doctors, medical students and individuals who coordinate the collection of idle or non-essential personal protective equipment (PPE) and re-direct these to the front line - including NHS healthcare staff, as well as other essential patient-facing workers.

As Logistics Team Lead, I head up a team of dedicated volunteers who work hard matching generous donations from the public and various organisations to PPE requests across the country. This has included hospital ITUs and A&Es, GPs, COVID hubs, care homes, and funeral parlours, amongst others.


In this last month since the organisation was created, we have already delivered over 125,000 items of PPE to the front line - and I couldn’t be prouder to be involved in this wonderful team effort.

Whilst our group has celebrated these successes, we’ve felt our mission has only become more important as time has gone by and have stayed focused. Our volunteer teams call each requestor personally to follow up PPE requests - and these calls have really hammered home to us the importance of our project. This has, of course, been difficult at times, but motivates us to keep pushing on with our initiative and to improve the efficiency of our processes.

We have over 180 volunteers in teams ranging from logistics, collection and delivery, all the way to social media, procurement, research, and graphic design - all working hard together to collaborate and redirect PPE to where it is needed the most. It’s truly been inspiring to work with them all as a group, and it’s been wonderful to feel like we’re doing our bit together to help essential workers and the NHS - even if we can’t be present in those settings ourselves just yet to lend a hand.

We all volunteer from home and spend a lot of our time discussing how to adapt our initiative as the climate shifts and changes. For me, one of the best parts of the experience has been collaborating with other doctors, medical students and professionals throughout our mission, particularly as we bring in new ideas to implement. We’ve all learned new skills and all pitch in to help each other with tasks - so it’s been a lovely and heart-warming experience overall.

We’ll be here to assist our requesters as long as we can - and whilst COVID-19 continues to affect our daily lives, I’m excited to carry on volunteering with MSDUK and to continue doing our part in this pandemic.

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