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Group of medical students sitting together smiling. The Graduate Entry Medicine students from Swansea University who are offering to provide emergency relief childcare to Swansea health workers.

Members of Swansea GEM Relief Childcare who are offering to provide emergency relief childcare to Swansea health workers. Missing from the picture is Jenny Hein.

A group of Swansea University students have come up with a practical way of helping NHS staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Graduate Entry Medicine (GEM) students have stepped in to offer emergency relief childcare to Swansea health workers.

Medical student Abigail Lyndon founded the Swansea GEM Relief Childcare scheme which sees medical and physician associate students volunteering to provide childcare for local NHS staff.

A team of eight students - Abigail, Jenna Boss, Kimaya Pandit, Rachel Haigh, Jenny Hein, Khadija Stone, Alice Johnson and Ranmini Philomin - are running the scheme alongside more than 90 student volunteers who have offered their time so far. But they say the number involved is growing rapidly as word spreads about the initiative.

The group said they were all very aware that the COVID-19 outbreak is putting increasing demands on NHS staff, and if childcare providers need to close, self-isolate or are no longer able to offer care it would put much-needed NHS staff in potentially difficult situations.

They said: “We are all delighted to be able to help the NHS in any way possible, and as we are not yet medically qualified, this seemed like a great way to offer our support in a time of need.

“All volunteers have been DBS checked and are trained in paediatric basic life support through our degree, and many of us have carried out previous care providing jobs.”

Professor Kamila Hawthorne, Head of Graduate Entry Medicine at Swansea University Medical School, added: “This is a lovely story in a bad news environment and it just shows how committed our clinical students are to pitch in and help our local NHS partners and the local community in a way that really supports the anti-coronavirus effort.

“As a Medical School we really are very proud of them!”

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