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23.09.14

Senior medical chiefs ask for NHS volunteers to fight Ebola

Some of England’s most senior medical leaders have written to NHS staff asking them to volunteer to fight the Ebola outbreak by treating victims in West Africa.

A letter signed by Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer at the Department of Health; Prof Paul Cosford, medical director at Public Health England; Prof Sir Bruce Keogh, medical director at NHS England and Jane Cummings, the chief nursing officer, asks for volunteers to staff a new hospital in Sierra Leone.

The Department for International Development is working with the British military and humanitarian experts to set up a purpose-built, 62-bed treatment facility. It will comprise of a 12-bed unit to treat infected healthcare workers and a co-located 50 bed unit for treating ordinary citizens infected with the disease.

The letter, addressed to NHS trust medical directors and directors of nursing, says: “Roles that may be required include medical practitioners, nursing staff, paramedics, pharmacists, psychologists, health information managers, logisticians and outreach managers. Examples of the roles required can be found on the UK-Med website.

“Initial help is requested from those with previous experience but we anticipate that as the situation develops, those with generic skills will be welcomed.”

It goes on to set out requirements and how to organise leave with organisations at home. The letter signs off “please do consider volunteering”.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the largest ever recorded with at least 5,335 cases recorded and 2,622 deaths. The countries affected are Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone.

(Image: c. AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)

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