Network Rail workers in the North East are supporting the NHS during the COVID-19 crisis by donating spare personal protective equipment (PPE) to staff at Hexham General Hospital.

Members of Network Rail’s Operations team in Newcastle have an important role to play in keeping the railway operating safely and efficiently, so people who cannot work from home, such as doctors and nurses, can use the railway to get to their jobs. It is also essential that food, medical supplies and fuel can continue to be transported across the country via freight services.

As well as keeping the railway running, Local Operations Manager, Chris Thomas, along with Operations Manager, Mick Hodgson, Mobile Operations Manager, Craig Jackson and Signaller, Jamie Seaton, wanted to do more to support NHS staff in the area. Jamie approached his colleagues as his wife, Laura Seaton, works as a Nurse Practitioner at Hexham General Hospital.

The team worked together to supply spare PPE and delivered 44 pairs of high-quality safety glasses and 60 bodysuits to be delivered to Hexham General Hospital. The PPE is now being used to protect NHS staff who are working on the frontline treating Coronavirus patients.

Network Rail is encouraging more workers to sign up and volunteer their skills where possible to help the NHS.

Chris Thomas, Local Operations Manager for Network Rail, said: “I’m so proud that my team and I could act quickly to deliver this vital equipment to where it is needed during these challenging times.

“Staff at Hexham General Hospital have thanked us and it’s great to know the equipment is being used by the amazing frontline workers in our local area.

“As we continue to work hard to keep the railway running, it’s great to see so many people across Network Rail getting involved and showing their support for the NHS.”

Marion Dickson, Executive Director for Nursing, Midwifery, Allied Health Professionals, Surgery and Community Services at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to Network Rail for its support and to Laura Seaton for facilitating this for us.

“We are so grateful to the many individuals, businesses and organisations which have come forward to help their local NHS at this unprecedented time and to our staff who have often helped set these up through their links in the community.

“We are receiving personal protective equipment through the national NHS supply chain however we know there is a huge demand for supplies globally which is a challenge. This extra support is vital to keeping stocks flowing as we use hundreds of pieces of equipment every day across our trust.”