Aberystwyth University provides support to NHS during Coronavirus Outbreak

A team from the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth University is helping NHS professionals to stay safe. Staff at university are producing and donating personal protective equipment (PPE) to NHS staff at local healthcare facilities. As the number of patients infected with Coronavirus continues to rise, their efforts are well appreciated by community. All of their supplies of PPE will be utilised by local district general hospital in Aberystwyth, Ysbyty Bronglais. Colleagues in the Faculty of Business and Physical Sciences are producing protective headgear and donating it to front-line health workers.

Dr Patricia Shaw, Intelligent Robotics expert and Natalie Roberts, Outreach Officer are using 3D printing technology to manufacture face shields. Face Shields will be provided free of charge to community carers, a local doctor’s surgery and a specialist healthcare charity group.

Patricia and Natalie are working from home since UK lockdown. They’re printing the headband before attaching a screen and an elastic adjustable strap which is provided by local donors. Printed and assembled, the shields protect the face against larger fluid particles. Shields also act as a barrier to stop hand to face contact.

Based on a design created by a 3D printer company, their effort is part of a wider movement by the 3D printing community across the UK. Purpose is to provide equipment to healthcare providers at a time of great need. the headbands are also environmentally friendly as they are made from PLA, a type of plastic which is both biodegradable and recyclable.

Face shields produced using 3D printing technology at Aberystwyth University.

Natalie said: “We had a well-tuned working 3D printer so referred the request to us. We had advertised on our local Covid-19 community WhatsApp group to see if there was anyone else who would benefit. This got us in contact with a staff member from specialist healthcare charity and a local GP practice.” Six face shields have already been delivered, with the finished items collected from a sterilised food container outside their home. Natalie added: “We are just glad to have found a way of helping others during these difficult times. If any other local 3D printer owners can lend a hand, we’d be very keen for them to get in touch, because, at this rate, we’ll need more capacity very soon.”

The head of the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, Dr Sarah Davies was part of a team who ferried the PPE to Ysbyty Bronglais – donating their entire stock to front-line workers. Prof. Davies said: “We’re seeing stories in the media on a daily basis about how our healthcare professionals and those working in social care are really putting their own personal safety to one side in order to help those in most need in these desperate circumstances. We’re more than happy to hand them over our stocks of equipment.”