Our Civic

As a university, we take the civic role we play seriously and are committed to supporting our local communities, particularly through these challenging times.

We are in the fortunate position of having a wealth of expertise and knowledge to share. We are already working with, and providing a wide range of support to, the NHS, local councils, organisations and communities across the city and county. Here are some examples of how we are responding to the crisis.

Making our contribution to combat coronavirus

Coronavirus has had an unprecedented impact on every community in the UK, and throughout the outbreak the University of Derby’s staff and students have been making important contributions.

Our nursing students have been among those at the forefront of that response, with around 500 second and third years supporting staff in hospitals and other care settings across our region.

Student wearing PPE whilst working in a hospital

Donating resources

In March, as the impact upon the NHS was beginning to be fully understood, University staff were quick to gather together resources that could help to alleviate the pressures upon medical teams in Derby and Derbyshire.

Thousands of items of personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves, aprons, goggles, wipes and cleaning materials, were collected from our Colleges of Health and Social Care and Life and Natural Sciences, and delivered to Chesterfield Royal Hospital and the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust (UHDB).

A mobile x-ray machine and digital scanner were also provided to our hospitals to help assess patients in Chesterfield with suspected Covid-19, as well as help manage demands placed by the pandemic on equipment at the Royal Derby Hospital.

In addition, a total of 25 iPads were delivered by the University to Chesterfield Royal, so in-patients could use them to contact their families while strict visiting restrictions were in place across all hospital departments.

Providing expertise

As well as donating resources, our staff were also creating them. Researchers at the University’s Institute for Innovation in Sustainable Engineering (IISE) worked with UHDB on a design for thousands of single-use protective visors, which would be assembled, manufactured and distributed by businesses in Derby.

An online Integrated Urgent Care Clinical Assessment Service (IUC CAS) course was offered free to pharmacists who had been redeployed to support the NHS 111 enquiry service, as it aimed to provide Covid-19 patients with the opportunity to discuss their condition with a clinician.

Our Kedleston Road site hosted the county’s first temporary Covid-19 ‘hot hub’, a drive-in appointment-only assessment centre operated by the Derby and Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group.

In addition, our academic expertise made other important contributions such as helping health professionals understand how to approach difficult ‘end of life’ conversations with Covid-19 patients and their families.

Aiding communities

As the University prepared to move its students and staff off-site, the Union of Students ensured that its food stock from its shops did not go to waste. Instead, it was donated to the Derby Covid-19 Community Response Hub for distribution to the city’s vulnerable residents, as well as to University of Derby students.

US student standing next to car full of donations

A number of nursing academics volunteered to support in hospitals in their spare time, staff made PPE at home and joined local community initiatives to provide help to those who were unable to get essential supplies for themselves.

Professor Kathryn Mitchell DL, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Derby, said: “It has been so important for universities to provide whatever help they can to their communities over the past few months.

“We have worked closely with colleagues in the NHS, in local authorities and in business to identify how our expertise and resources could make a positive difference across Derby and Derbyshire.

“Our civic commitment is unwavering and we will continue to play our part whenever and however we can in the fight against coronavirus.”

Find out more about how we've been supporting the community