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Culture, history and society

Urgent call for engineering volunteers to support front-line NHS staff tackling the COVID-19 pandemic

New medical facilities are being built across the UK to treat patients with COVID-19, and existing facilities are increasing capacity in specialist areas. Following the call for engineering volunteers in London, Manchester and Birmingham the NHS is now asking for engineering volunteers from across the UK to come forward and stand alongside NHS staff.


NHS England staff, along with the Army, are managing these facilities and are setting up the beds and clinical services which will be needed to care for potentially more than 4000 patients. Doctors, nurses and healthcare scientists will be drawn from hospitals and Trusts across the surrounding regions, additional support staff will be needed to ensure that services continue to run smoothly.

Under normal operations, engineers and technicians work quietly in the background. With such unprecedented circumstances before us, this is no-longer the case. The effective delivery of clinical care will only be achieved if engineers and technicians work alongside their clinical counterparts.

Time is of the essence and it is likely that volunteer engineers and technicians will be needed on site and in the regional hospitals within the week, if not within the next few days.

While termed volunteers, some financial recompense for service will be given, although this is yet to be finalised. For those that need it, hotel accommodation at the field hospital sites and close to the Trusts will be provided. Appropriate training and supervision will also be provided by NHS clinical engineering staff.

What to do next

Volunteers are asked to consider their decision carefully as they will be in close proximity to populations of infection and may see upsetting scenes.

Selection will be made by the NHS team based on need and the Royal Academy of Engineering has agreed to maintain the database. 

Thank you for your commitment and support in these extraordinary times.