Spreading the kindness shown

We have been so overwhelmed by offers of help and donations from the local community that it is providing guidance on giving and also encouraging the community to consider donations to other good causes and those in need.

There has been an out-pouring of support for the NHS from communities in west Wales, and across the UK, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This has resulted in the following gestures of goodwill:

  • 2,000 donated items with a net worth of more than £18,000 for our patients through our Amazon wish list – you can donate through https://tinyurl.com/ydafmec7
  • more than £62,000 in charitable donations to a dedicated appeal to support the welfare and wellbeing of our staff and volunteers. Donations are being spent in line with the wishes of our staff to fund items such as refreshments and snacks for staff rest and recovery rooms; staff welfare bags with a range of toiletries to freshen up during and after a shift, and other items– you can donate through www.justgiving.com/campaign/HywelDdaNHSCOVID19
  • dozens of inspirational individuals and groups undertaking their own fundraising feats
  • donations of Personal Protective Equipment from local businesses, schools and further education providers
  • the sewing community providing beautiful handmade items
  • donations of food, baked goods, chocolates and other items
  • displays of artwork locally and sending videos, pictures and messages of support via social media

Director of Nursing, Quality and Experience Mandy Rayani said: “It has been overwhelming to see the generosity and desire by the community to support its local NHS. The single best way our communities can support the NHS remains to follow the government guidance and stay at home, this will help us to save lives.

“However, we understand this is a whole community response and we are so grateful to all the support we are receiving. We can maximise this kindness through a centralised approach, which ensures the safety of everybody and gets items to where they are needed most.”

The health board is now providing some guidance on what items are being sought and others that are not needed at this time. The easiest and safest way for people to support health board staff and patients is to donate to our Amazon patient wish list or the JustGiving staff and volunteer appeal (links above).

However if you wish to use a skill and/or donate gifts in kind, please call our enquiries lines on 0300 303 8322 or email covidenquiries.hdd@wales.nhs.uk  Members of the public are being asked strictly not to attend any health board sites and facilities without prior arrangement.

Specifically;

  • Personal protective equipment -  we are not currently seeking further local suppliers of for visors, masks, gowns and hand sanitiser as it is already working with established supply chains and new approved local suppliers, whose items have been quality assured to keep staff and patients safe. If a business did want to discuss provision of PPE with the health board, they are asked to contact the enquiries line or Life Sciences Hub Wales through the www.lshubwales.com website.
  • Handmade items - the health board is in communication with several local sewing communities whilst awaiting delivery of a stock of scrubs. If you wish to help with this supply, please speak to the enquiries team first to agree quantities. The health board is also grateful for laundry bags and cotton headbands, which need to be colourfast and washable at 60 degrees. Click here to view specifications for these items - Guidance for donated handmade items. Please email covidenquiries.hdd@wales.nhs.uk for quantities and delivery arrangements before you start sewing. The health board is not accepting cotton masks or any knitted items due to infection risk.
  • Food – our staff continue to be well served by our loyal and skilled teams in hospital restaurants, where free tea and coffee for all NHS staff is currently being provided. To ensure the safety of our staff the health board is not accepting baked goods or hot food from individuals. The health board is however working with a number of local businesses and initiatives such as Feed the NHS Wales to co-ordinate the distribution of freshly cooked meals from pre-approved suppliers who are so generously supporting the NHS at this time. We ask that all local companies wishing to support the NHS in this way please contact our enquiries line to discuss your generous offers of support. Please do not attend health board sites and facilities without prior arrangement.

The health board is encouraging the public to also consider other potential good causes from food banks to individual friends, family and neighbours who may appreciate a gift in kind such as donated items, or a home cooked meal at home.

Speaking on behalf of local nurses James Sheldon, clinical lead nurse for unscheduled care at Withybush Hospital said: “The generosity from the public and their encouragement and support for the NHS has been incredible. Whilst we are grateful for the donations, we are now on a mission to help and support the local community – many of whom are in greater need.

“Many of our teams have given donations and food parcels to local food banks. We would please ask people to consider giving donations or gifts to food banks or friends, family, and neighbours, particularly the vulnerable.”