St John medic joins fight against Ebola

St John ebola

St John Ambulance volunteer Dr Neil Studd will be far away from family and friends this Christmas, treating victims of Ebola fever in an isolation unit in Sierra Leone.

The 27-year-old doctor, a cycle responder with St John Ambulance London Region's volunteer Cycle Response Unit (CRU), flew out to Freetown, Sierra Leone, on 7 December.

Neil, who is currently clinical lead for the CRU, joins the King’s Sierra Leone Partnership for a month and returns home in early January. The partnership is a joint initiative by the Global Health Centre at King’s College, London and the Sierra Leonean ministry of health.

Neil’s duties in Freetown will include treating infected patients who arrive at the isolation unit and designing processes to manage them as effectively as possible.

On his decision to join the fight against the disease he said: ‘Watching the story unfold, I realised I had some skills which might help.

“I am used to working in a fast-paced environment where you need to make decisions quickly and I’m hoping I will be able to help alleviate some of the suffering.

He adds: ‘It makes missing Christmas seem an irrelevance compared with the suffering people are going through.”

His St John Ambulance manager and national operational cycling officer Ashley Sweetland is proud of his colleague’s decision to fly out to help those affected by the Ebola crisis.

He said: ‘Neil’s professionalism and dedication to making a difference to others shines through in his work with the London Region CRU of St John Ambulance. We’re proud to have such a selfless team member and we wish him the very best of luck in his mission to help in Sierra Leone.

‘Neil exemplifies the wide-ranging skills that volunteers bring to our teams that enrich us as our organisation.’

To find out how to join the CRU unit https://www.sja.org.uk/sja/volunteer/first-aid/operational-cyclist.aspx.