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Superdrug nurses support major convalescent plasma programme

Nurses support programme in London, Manchester and Birmingham, as appeal for donors continue

8 June 2020

Superdrug nurses are supporting NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) to collect convalescent plasma as appeals continue for people in London, Manchester and Birmingham to offer to donate plasma if they have recovered from COVID-19 or the symptoms.

The antibody-rich plasma of people who have recovered from the disease can be transfused into people who are still struggling to develop an immune response.

More than 4,000 units of plasma have already been collected including more than 2,000 units in London, Manchester and Birmingham.

To support such a large scale collection, 30 Superdrug volunteers will play a key part in the collection of plasma units. They will be located at blood donor centres in London, Birmingham, Manchester.

Superdrug nurse, Liz Evans, who has been working on the front line at Birmingham New Street Donor Centre, said: “I really wanted to support and be part of the pioneering programme which will ultimately speed up patients recovery from COVID-19.

The training has been excellent both face to face and by Skype and the nurses and donor carers in Birmingham have been welcoming and supportive.

My husband who works in UltraSound was diagnosed with COVID-19 in early March, he was really poorly but was not hospitalised. I also know a couple of my nurse colleagues had COVID-19, and thankfully they have all recovered. All of these personal incidents further motivated me to volunteer.”

Superdrug nurse, Tracy Roughley, who has also been working on the front line in Birmingham said: “It's been a huge learning curve but the role is proving to be interesting and hopefully we can be a part of a breakthrough! As the donors are recovering from COVID-19 it's been interesting talking to them about their experience.

The donor centre nurse and donor carer team in Birmingham have been so friendly. A practice nurse friend was struck down with COVID-19 quite early on in the outbreak and although she didn’t need to be hospitalised she was very unwell for two weeks at home and took several weeks to recover completely.”

Michael Henry Superdrug Healthcare Director comments: “We have an incredibly professional team of nurses and their experience and training has meant they can support in both a supervisory role but also work as part of a multi-skilled team to provide a professional, caring and safe service to convalescent plasma donors. They will be a valued addition to NHSBT to ensure donors have a positive experience and return to donate on a regular basis.”

Dr Gail Miflin, Chief Medical Officer, NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “It is an ambitious project and we’re grateful to Superdrug for providing highly skilled nurses to support the programme delivery. We are holding a lot of new donation sessions, and we know some donors will have been through a very difficult time, so having extra highly trained professionals to support this programme is crucial.”

NHSBT is asking people who have both recovered from the disease and who can travel to a donor centre to provide their details online or to phone the 0300 123 23 23 donor line.