More than 450 medical and social care students across Manchester have stepped forward in less than a week to support NHS workers while they tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Called the Manchester National Health Supporters, the students are providing help to NHS workers so they can get on with the day job – including support for collecting groceries, babysitting children, pet walking and manning the receptions at GP surgeries.

The idea originated from Saif Khan, a fourth year medical student at The University of Manchester, after he noticed local health care professionals voicing concerns on social media about how they would balance home life with work commitments in the coming weeks.

After posting his idea on Facebook, Saif was inundated with offers of help from fellow students from The University of Manchester. The idea snowballed with students returning to the city from other universities during lockdown also offering to get involved.

The team has the correct procedures in place for safeguarding and Saif helped facilitate its expansion across the UK as other students in other parts of the country launch similar initiatives. As well as coordinating the Manchester National Health Supporters, he currently oversees part of the initiative nationally.

Saif said: “Within just a few days we have created a movement across the country of students who have NHS workers’ backs. We’re here to help them so they can focus on the day job.

“We’re in a unique position – unlike final year students we can’t be fast-tracked into junior doctor level posts, but we all have DBS checks and first aid training to help NHS workers with babysitting and working in GP surgeries on reception.”


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