New app allows NHS workers to report PPE shortages and get vital equipment where it’s needed most – The Sun
A NEW app hopes to give NHS works a desperately needed voice to report crucial PPE shortages and get vital equipment to where it's needed most.
As the UK death toll climbs past 10,000, many frontline workers say they feel overwhelmed and unprotected in the face of the coronavirus crisis.
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Katz Kiely, digital expert and founder of the initiative, said she was struck by how many front line workers said they weren't receiving the protective equipment they needed to keep them, and their patients, safe.
Speaking to Sun Online, she said: "We built a platform that invites people who are working on the frontline to tweet what they need so we can aggregate that data and send it to anyone who wants it."
After seeing thousands of tweets from NHS staff pleading for more equipment, Ms Kiely said she wanted to feel like she was doing something to help.
“I am in awe of our frontline heroes," she explained.
"Our research revealed that in March, for example, there were over 25 thousand mentions of the need for PPE on Twitter.
"The majority were from frontline workers who are keeping us safe.
"It deeply concerns us that some of our heroes aren’t getting the kit they need to keep themselves protected.
"Let's give them a platform to invite them to tweet their challenges."
The platform invites healthcare workers to tweet their needs and the post code of the building or hospital they work in, then creates a live data map of what is needed and where.
Launched over the Easter weekend at a time officials predict new Covid-19 infections to peak as the NHS is warned to brace for a “tsunami” of cases, the app aims to visualise where vital supplies are needed in real time.
A team of about 15 volunteers working remotely and in their spare time came together to build the app, inspired by the sole purpose of helping frontline staff.
The group describes themselves as "techies, open data specialists and digital storytellers" who are utilising their digital skills to help keep frontline workers safe.
The team say they have been inspired by the courage and bravery of frontline workers and want to do their bit to help.
Frontline.live is available for free, can be accessed by anyone and uses real time user-generated data to reveal where critical problems lie.
Ms Kiely, who is also CEO of AI software Beep, said: "Time and time again, our team has seen the power of open data and how it helps solve complex problems faster.
"We decided to put those needs on the map to support decision makers across the UK so they can act faster to get the right supplies to the right places to keep our care workers safe."
The digital native hopes the initiative can help a system under enormous stress.
"Our mission is to become redundant as quickly as possible," she said.
"If frontline workers have everything they need to be safe, our job here is done."
The platform notes that they cannot connect suppliers directly with individual hospitals as suppliers need to go through official procurement channels.
Ms Kiely said so far the feedback the team has received from frontline workers "has been extraordinary."
The past two weeks has seen Brits applaud their NHS heroes for putting their lives on the line to fight coronavirus.
Millions of people proudly gather on their front doors and balconies to clap on a Thursday for those on the frontline.
Dozens of heartbreaking stories have emerged over the past two months of nurses forced to share protective equipment despite being on the frontline of the pandemic.
There have also been reports of exhausted medics forced to cut up hospital curtains to make makeshift gowns due to a lack of protective clothing, and others snapped wearing rubbish bags around the bodies and mouths.
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