Nineteen-year old student Millie Doodson is one of more than 1,300 people who have answered the call to help support Devon’s most vulnerable.
Since an urgent appeal was launched earlier this month people of all ages and backgrounds including lawyers, students, hairdressers, engineers and retired soldiers have registered to become Healthcare Assistants.
At a time when existing social care and health staff are under huge pressure hundreds of people have stepped up and said, ‘I want to help.’
And one of those is Cardiff University law student Millie Doodson, from Blackborough, near Cullompton.
Undergraduate Millie was in the midst of her studies when her academic year was cut short as a result of the lockdown and she returned to Devon.
Last week she completed the first stage of her training, a three-day fast-track training course.
This week she’s receiving training in the use of Personal Protective Equipment, and she will shortly start getting some hands-on experience, shadowing one of Devon County Council’s reablement teams.
During her practical training, Millie will be visiting people at home who are recovering from illness or just returned after a stay in hospital, to help them regain their independence.
She will help them to build their confidence, so they are able to do the things many of us take for granted like wash, dress and cook again for themselves.
Over coming weeks, Millie and other Healthcare Assistants in the scheme will be placed in a variety of care settings in hospitals, care homes or visiting people in their homes.
“It was a real challenge leaving the university environment and my studies so abruptly and not knowing when I will be able to go back.
“When I returned to Devon and I wanted to use this time usefully and do something to help other people during a time of crises.”
Millie encourages others to sign up as well and added:
“I have done some support work before so I knew this was something I could do.
“It gives me the chance to support the NHS and Social Care in a time of need and use my skills to help others. I would encourage other people to do the same.”
Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for
Adult Social Care and Health Services, said:
“The response we have had has been fantastic – people from all backgrounds have come forward and said, ‘I want to make difference’.
“I want to thank Millie and the hundreds like her who have stepped up to help when they are needed most.
“Qualifications and experience aren’t necessarily important. What’s important are a person’s values and attitude towards working with people who need care.
“You need to be compassionate, diligent and willing to learn. And from what I’ve been told by tutors on the training course our new healthcare assistants have those qualities in abundance.”