Dr Gautam Sharma, who runs the West Earlham Dental Practice in Norwich, found himself having little choice but to close the doors and furlough staff earlier this month because of UK-wide lockdown and social distancing implications.
As news of the desperate shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the healthcare profession began to emerge, he decided to gather whatever remaining stock he and his colleagues had and donate these much-needed items to East Anglia Care Homes.
With two properties in Norfolk, East Anglia Care Homes had begun to reach the point of urgent need by Easter Sunday and were delighted to be offered some 500 face masks to allow staff to serve their elderly and vulnerable residents safely.
Dr Sharma said: “It breaks my heart to hear how staff in the health and care sector are struggling to get the very equipment they need to do their job safely.
“While it’s been incredibly distressing to have to close the doors of the practice for now, it has placed us in a position of having stock available which could more immediately be of use to others.
“I was able to pull together as much of our existing supplies as possible and gift the homes a decent supply of 500 masks – which will hopefully keep them going for several more weeks.”
Dr Sharma is keen to see other professionals like himself step forward with stock which is currently going unused.
“I know there will be others like myself who cannot continue to provide direct patient services during this period, so I would urge them to consider generously donating supplies,” he said.
“Right now, we all need to think about helping others, and contributing in whatever way we can. It’s vital we enable the care sector to function effectively in this really difficult time.”
Any care professionals with surplus stock, or organisations in need of supplies, are encouraged to get in contact with Dr Sharma. Call him on 01603 250583 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those in need of dental services are reminded that urgent hubs exist in Norwich and Lowestoft.