Government drive to source ventilator for COVID-19 Pandemic: Call to action for the veterinary community

20 February 2020

BSAVA have collaborated with the UK’s leading veterinary organisations to reach out to medical colleagues on the frontline by helping to source NHS-compatible equipment and resources.

The government and the NHS are ramping up our ventilator supply to prepare for expected increases in the number of patients suffering from severe respiratory problems during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) alongside the Department for Health and Social Care and the NHS, have successfully procured additional ventilators through supply chains, and have issued a call to the veterinary industry to develop ventilators for use on the NHS.

With the support of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, British Small Animal Veterinary Association, British Equine Veterinary Association, British Veterinary Association, Major Employers Group, Association of Veterinary Anaesthetists and the Animal Health Trust, DEFRA are also asking the veterinary community to help the country and the NHS to identify mechanical ventilators that were previously used on the NHS. Mechanical ventilators are critically important in supporting the recovery of patients hospitalised by COVID-19.

DEFRA said: “We are aware that many veterinary practices across the country may have NHS Compatible – Human Ventilators that they are not using for emergency animal care. To be clear we are not asking for ventilators only suitable for animals. We are also cognisant of animal welfare, and that you will need to set aside ventilators for emergency veterinary care. We are therefore only asking you to contribute what you can, acknowledging the difficult balance involved.

We need these ventilators urgently, to support with the COVID-19 response. Thank you in advance for responding to the call.”

Sue Paterson, BSAVA President, said:

“We recognise that patients treated for COVID-19 in hospitals will benefit hugely from increased numbers of ventilators that can assist their recovery. It’s been a concerted effort where the veterinary community has rapidly responded to the needs of the Government and the NHS by stepping in to provide support during these challenging times.”

How to get in touch

If you think you can help, the RCVS is e-mailing all veterinary practices with the survey link so please make sure your practice address is up to date.

Alternatively, please submit your interest and information regarding how you can help via this Survey.