A Sheffield GP is set to join the fight against Ebola in West Africa, heading out to the front line to treat the deadly virus.
Charles Heatley, aged 53, a general practitioner from Birley, left the UK for Sierra Leone today to join a group of more than 30 NHS volunteers brought together by the Government.
Following training with the group of doctors, nurses, psychiatrists and consultants in emergency medicine, Dr Heatley will then begin work on setting up procedures and diagnosing and treating people who have contracted the killer disease, which has already claimed more than 5,000 lives.
Dr Heatley, a GP at Birley Health Centre, said: “I feel as confident about going out as anyone could expect to be. The training has been first class, we all feel we can protect ourselves from infection with Ebola as along as we follow the instructions received. We have also had training to prepare ourselves emotionally, and the feeling in the group is very positive, and very strong.
“We feel compelled to do this. The sense of urgency has been made clear by WHO, the US and UK governments and the NGOs, amplified by the information we have received from experts at the course.
“My approach is that this is a secondment, not a voluntary placement. If we can support more patients through their illness we will have made a step towards bringing the epidemic under control more quickly.”
Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies said: “I have been really impressed with the numbers of NHS workers who have stepped forward to help the communities devastated by Ebola.
“The fact more than 1,000 have come forward so far is a real testament to their commitment to public service.”
Professor Tony Redmond, Head of UK Med said: “The actions of these selfless volunteers in going and the actions of their colleagues and managers to release them and cover for their duties is testimony if ever there was to the altruism that lies at the core of the NHS. I am very proud of them all.”