Dr Sarah Fouch in white lab coat looking at sample

Here are some of the ways we are helping the local community to stay safe and well.

17 April 2020

2 min read

Staff and students are continuing to provide vital contributions to efforts to counter the coronavirus pandemic and its effects. Here are some of the ways we are helping the local community to stay safe and well.

More face shields to protect health professionals

More than 2,000 face shields have now been supplied to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth to allow their front line staff, from anaesthetists to nurses, to work safely. Face shields have also been supplied to Southern Health NHS and emergency dentists across Hampshire. The team has sufficient plastic to produce another 9,000 to 10,000 shields.

The team are also producing surgical mask tension release bands to staff working at Portsmouth Hospital Trust and Southern Health NHS trusts to help provide comfort during extended use of PPE.  Front line staff are wearing PPE for longer periods than normal, which becomes very uncomfortable during long shifts. This is particularly true when wearing ‘surgical’ face masks which are secured to the users face via elastic fitting around the ears. The elastic can rub on the ears making them itchy, uncomfortable and in some cases painful.

To overcome this, the tension release bands provide comfort around the ear for wearers in extended use. The bands are made to open source specifications and are available through the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health 3D Print Exchange.

If you would like to order these for your organisation or have any other questions, please contact face-shields@port.ac.uk. Please note, we can only receive orders for these in batches of 100.

Microbiologist helping in the national effort against coronavirus in her spare time

Dr Sarah Fouch, Senior Lecturer in Microbiology, is helping with the fight against COVID-19 by working weekends at her local hospital. The microbiologist is testing COVID-19 samples in the microbiology laboratory at Basingstoke Hospital, helping to get essential diagnostic information to doctors and medical staff.

Sarah has maintained her Biomedical Scientists HCPC registration. This means she was able to step right in when asked to join the testing team at the lab when the number of tests required started to grow a few weeks ago.

Read more about Dr Fouch's work to help fight coronavirus.

Dr Sarah Fouch

Staff and students on the frontline

Our Faculty of Health and Science is fast-tracking medical students into frontline healthcare support, such as nurses in placement as employees. The Faculty have also ensured paramedic students (who are already employees of the ambulance service) will continue and complete their Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE) as intended, so that they can take on the responsibilities now required.

The Faculty is also in discussion with the NHS to use our premises and staff to train returning NHS staff.

Donating critical personal protective equipment

The Schools of Biological Sciences and Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences donated more than 300 pairs of nitrile gloves and a number of face shields and safety eye wear to Portsmouth City Council.

Project to understand how coronavirus spreads wins crucial funding

A research project to understand how COVID-19 spreads has won first prize and crucial funding in a competition to provide solutions to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Sequencing and Tracking Of Phylogeny in COVID-19 study (STOP COVID-19), led by Dr Sam Robson from the Centre for Enzyme Innovation, will receive £1,250 as the winner of the competition run by the University’s Health and Wellbeing research theme.