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Homemade scrubs arrive on the frontline

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By Charlotte MacKay
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Homemade scrubs arrive on the frontline

THE first batch of medical scrubs created by volunteers across the region has been delivered to Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary.

Local group NHS D&G For the Love of Scrubs created 75 pairs of scrubs as part of a national drive to provide fabric items for frontline staff, hospitals and care homes, And regional co-ordinator Doreen Johnston this week described the growth of the volunteer-led group as “a whirlwind.”

She said: “It grew so quickly, it started as a one-man band on April 4, to six of us later that day, and we are up to almost 900 volunteers now, it’s great.”

In addition to the scrubs, the group have already created more than 2500 fabric wash bags which frontline workers can use to safely transport their work clothing while reducing the chance of bringing Covid-19 into their own homes. And members have also run up hundreds of items of nightwear for patients in hospital, as well as knitted or crotchet hearts which can be given to people who have lost loved ones to the virus.

Doreen continued: “It was a bit overwhelming at first because my phone was ringing 24/7 with people wanting to help, so that is why I set up cluster co-ordinators. “Of course there was no way for me to interview the co-ordinators, I almost had to pick them at random, but they are such a good team. There are 20 co-ordinators now from Stranraer to Langholm and right up to Thornhill and Sanquhar, they collect the items from the volunteers and give me an update on how many they have collected twice a week.

“I take the orders from people who are looking for items and make sure they are delivered where they are needed most, in this region where possible. “We have got a whole network of volunteer drivers too, some of them are drivers with Scottish Gas and some of the girls were doing volunteer driving for other things anyway, so we’re trying to reduce the number of people we have out driving as much as we can, like we’re supposed to being doing.”

With almost 900 eager volunteers in Dumfries and Galloway alone looking for supplies, the group soon ran into difficult sourcing material and thread. Low stocks of the approved scrubs material were a particular issue, with the national For the Love of Scrubs hub in Glasgow struggling to meet demand. Doreen said: “For scrubs they can’t just be made of any fabric, it has to be the proper scrubs material. Fortunately we got a wonderful donation of £5500 from the League of Friends of Newton Stewart Hospital and have sourced a supplier so we can buy the fabric direct now. All the Rotary clubs in Dumfries and Galloway gave us £1200 last weekend which we used for fabric for the wash bags etc.

“Graham Edwards from Dumfries Rotary Club set up a Go Fund Me page for us too which is sitting at nearly £3000 so far, so I would really like to thank Graham and the Rotary for that. That has given us enough material and we are getting some really nice stuff to make the pyjamas and nightgowns because people are arriving in hospital with nothing, their families are not allowed to take anything in to them and the hospital supplies of nightwear have dried up.”

Anyone who is interested in volunteering is asked not to contact hospitals or care homes directly and should instead make contact with their local cluster co-ordinator. Any frontline worker who needs scrubs or other items should message the NHS D&G For the Love of Scrubs Facebook group. To donate to the group visit www.gofundme.com/f/nhs-d-amp-g-for-the-love-of-scrubs.

Above,  Christine McNay, of Lockerbie, is one of many round the region creating pairs of hearts for people critically ill in hospital and their families.

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