Medical students make calls to vulnerable residents shielding from coronavirus

21 May 2020


First and second year medical students from the University of Buckingham are making regular ‘check-in’ phone calls to local elderly and vulnerable residents who are shielding from Covid-19. Coordinated by Buckinghamshire Council’s Aylesbury Support Hub, a total of 21 students are participating in the calls – with each student responsible for contacting three or more residents on a weekly basis (or less if requested).

During the calls students are making sure that residents are feeling okay, and to check that they are receiving food parcels and any medication that they may need. If there are any concerns, students email or call the Aylesbury Support Hub so a team member can address their issues.

To date, more than 72 residents have been contacted by University of Buckingham students. Requests by residents include:

  • Delivery of food parcels
  • Replacement of a broken nebuliser
  • Collection of prescriptions

Student volunteer Rushika Das, explains;

‘I was more than glad to step forward and take this opportunity. I volunteered to call up 3 people from the Buckinghamshire county every week and have a conversation with them, support their wellbeing, ask whether they have everything that they need, and further reach out to the council if they require any assistance.

The people I have contacted have said that they feel emotionally supported and it makes them feel good to have someone to talk to about their day to day things when the current circumstances are so unpredictable. This has given them confidence that someone is looking out for them since these situations have made them more vulnerable.

Through this volunteering role, I have had the chance to connect with and help the people of the community that I am a part of. It has been very inspiring to see how healthcare workers have been working round the clock to save lives and this is what keeps motivating me to do my little bit during these difficult times.’

Dean Jones, Partnerships and Outreach Manager at the University of Buckingham said:

“We are all really proud to play a part in supporting the community at this time. Dr Joanne Selway has done a remarkable job of coordinating our student volunteers. We are working collaboratively across departments and with our regional authority partners to ensure that the University continues to support the wider community. We very much see ourselves as a Civic university with a responsibility to support those in our community who are most in need. It is heartening to see everyone from staff to students contributing in different ways. For our medical students, the experience of applying their learning during a pandemic is invaluable. Whilst these times are incredibly challenging for everyone concerned, these learning experiences will prove incredibly useful to all our future medical professionals.”

Gareth Williams, Cabinet Member Communities & Public Health for Buckinghamshire Council, commented:

“I’m very impressed by these medical students volunteering to make these helpful calls to residents who are currently shielding from coronavirus. I’m sure that each call is welcomed by the residents, many who have been isolating for several weeks now. This is another great example of why I’m #ProudofBucks.

The ‘keeping in touch’ calls from these students builds on Buckinghamshire Council’s ‘staying in touch’ service by widening support to people who are not already receiving Adult Social Care services from the council. Since 6 April, ‘staying in touch’ staff and volunteers have made over 10,000 calls to elderly and vulnerable residents.”

More details on Buckinghamshire Council’s Support Hubs can be found here: