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Northumbria supports the global response to COVID-19

8th April 2020

In a time like no other, colleagues, students and alumni of Northumbria University are demonstrating remarkable effort and admirable spirit as the world joins forces to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.

As well as coming together to support our immediate community, colleagues are working hard to support wider society activity, from providing vital equipment to the NHS and enabling access to our car parks for NHS workers, to providing critical care upskilling for front line staff. As a challenger institution, we are proud of the numerous ways our community is tackling these unprecedented times head on.

Hospital beds

Providing vital equipment

Thanks to the brilliant efforts of our Faculty of Health and Life Sciences we have been able to lend crucial equipment such as ventilators, Dinamaps, syringe drivers and hospital beds to NHS Trusts. This equipment is usually used by students on healthcare programmes as part of their training. Several qPCR machines, which are used to analyse patient samples and determine whether they have the virus, have also been sent out to local NHS hospitals and the British Army.

 Dinamaps and ventilators

Supporting our NHS

Our car parks close to hospitals have been made available free of charge for NHS staff and supplies of PPE which would have been used by students and staff have been donated to local trusts for their front-line teams.

Delivering urgent training

In response to the need to prepare additional front line NHS staff to care for patients with COVID-19, Health Education England and Northumbria University have launched specialist online training in Critical Care Upskilling. The webinar-based sessions cover the recognition and management of various acute conditions found in a range of healthcare settings.

The training consists of a series of two-hour webinars which will be repeated over a number of dates throughout April. Here's how to book and more details of the webinar session learning outcomes.

Students and staff stepping up

In the faculty of Health and Life Sciences, students and staff are responding to national calls for action to support the NHS and the COVID-19 crisis more widely. Our academic and technical teams are involved in a range of research projects focused on understanding, testing and treating the virus.

Students and academic staff who are registered health professionals, are already working to support the front line in our region’s hospitals.

Next week over 350 final year nursing students will join the workforce in an extended placement in line with the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s guidance and emergency standards. We are working swiftly to enable student midwives and allied health professionals, in line with Health and Care Professions Council guidance, to do the same in the coming weeks.


Student nurse tweet

Developing quicker, more reliable ways of testing

Researchers at Northumbria University have developed a breath collector that could revolutionise COVID-19 diagnosis, and confirm if transmission happens through breath. The device simply collects exhaled breath which can then be tested for the virus, and is expected to be more reliable than current procedures. Currently being tested with patients, it could help stop COVID-19 transmission. Read more about this research.


Breath collecting device for Covid-19 testing

Helping local communities

We are hearing heart-warming stories of staff and students who are dedicating their spare time to support those in need. Whether that be through delivering food shopping to vulnerable neighbours, dog walking, picking up medication or leaving notes of gratitude on healthcare workers' windshields in hospital car parks.

 Thank you note

 A sterling example includes student Md Mominul Hamid who is delivering emergency food parcels to refugees on his bike. Md is studying a foundation degree through a Sanctuary Scholarship at Northumbria, whilst volunteering for a range of organisations including West End Refugee Service, Citizens Advice, City of Sanctuary Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Services. Now he is spreading hope to the local community on two wheels by delivering essential provisions to homes across the West End of Newcastle. Read his story here.

Student volunteering

Research into food insecurity

The Healthy Living Lab at Northumbria has partnered with Sheffield, Ulster and Oklahoma universities to launch research into food insecurity among university students. The Lab specialises in studying and shaping public health issues. The team are especially interested in the health and wellbeing of students at this time and are inviting students to share their experiences during the COVID-19 crisis, to be able to shape discussions around potential solutions for students everywhere in US and UK. Students who wish to participate in the survey can do so via this link.

We are so proud and grateful of the numerous ways staff, students and alumni of Northumbria University are doing all they can to support the nation through the challenges posed by COVID-19. A big thank you to everyone.

However big or small, we would love to hear how you have been helping support the fight against COVID-19. Email to get in touch.

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