A SOLIHULL midwife is taking time after her shift to collect hospital uniform bags donated by the community.
As dozens of keen seamstresses stitch bags for washing uniforms, Vicki Hill and her team of 25 midwives are out and about collecting them in their spare hours away from the wards.
Vicki runs the group Midlands NHS Uniform Bag Donations on Facebook, with over 1000 members.
As the NHS nationally continues to grapple with a shortage of protective equipment, including scrubs, during the coronavirus pandemic, the volunteer network is providing a solution to prevent clothing contamination.
Vicki told the Observer: “Our ladies in the community are so glad to help out, I suppose it’s their way of saying thankyou but it brings staff to tears when they see the effort they have made.
“When all this started I was trying to get hold of scrubs, but the hospital said it didn’t have enough so we had to keep wearing our uniform. I was really concerned at first as I thought – I can’t wear my uniform, its dangerous if I have had a coronavirus patient. I can’t be taking the uniform home and potentially taking that to my kids.
“But I got hold of a uniform bag, which means I can get changed at work, take it home and put it straight in the washing machine.
“My boyfriend then said he’d buy 50 for the ward, and then when word got out we were giving out 300 uniform bags.
“The majority of the bags come from ladies in the community that are stuck at home, and they keep messaging saying this gives them a sense of purpose.
“They use their own fabric, their own sewing machines, they sit and make them and as I have 25 midwives working with me they go to collect them.
“As we all work in the hospital we can get the bags to the wards. We have the midwives and clinical staff, who are on hand to make the collections.
“The bags mean that I don’t need to wear scrubs now, as I don’t really like pulling them over my head anyway. We are being well supported by the NHS and they are doing everything they can.”
The bags are distributed to clinical teams working across the West Midlands, including Solihull hospital, Heartlands, Warwick, Good Hope, Coventry UHCW and Walsall.