On-demand childcare app, bubble has joined forces with UK medical students to offer free childcare for parents working in the NHS

Whilst the NHS faces one of it busiest times to date, parents working in the healthcare sector are facing another challenge, a childcare crisis. Through the newly founded National Health Supporters, medical students who aren’t yet qualified to support medically, have responded to the crisis by volunteering their time to support parent NHS workers, by offering childcare, pet sitting and domestic support, free of charge.

Across the UK, medical students are having their placements postponed or cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, lectures are going digital so volunteers have come together in a heartwarming effort to support future colleagues.

Via the instant childcare app bubble, the service offers babysitting services ad-hoc and at short notice, providing flexibility and instant results. Parents can now use the app to access childcare from medical students in their area.

With the aim to relieve pressure on NHS staff so they are able to support in the pandemic, National Health Supporters is a directory of networks including students and resources across the UK who are able to provide assistance in a variety of ways. Its offerings span from food shopping to pet sitting and childcare. Now with the help of bubble, childcare is instant, and free.

“I knew there was a serious problem with NHS staff finding childcare. With nurseries and schools closing they were left with no safe or viable options.”

Esther Harazi, a London based GP and user of Bubble, said: “From speaking to friends and colleagues, and through my own experience, I knew there was a serious problem with NHS staff finding childcare. With nurseries and schools closing they were left with no safe or viable options. Realising that there were many willing medical students who were DBS qualified, I contacted bubble who I had used before.

“The solution they have developed, to offer free childcare to NHS staff by utilising available and willing medical students is amazing. Supporting the frontline and giving NHS workers peace of mind to be able to focus on keeping people safe and healthy.”

The initiative enables NHS workers, who suddenly find themselves with a houseful due to schools and nurseries closing, to provide life-saving support in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak.

What started out a little over a week ago as four local Facebook groups, National Health Supporters has now grown to over 40 known resources across the country.

Sam, co-founder of the NHS babysitting project turned national initiative, and the Edinburgh group co-ordinator, noted that the rate at which the initiative has grown is “fantastic”, in such a short amount of time. “I think this work could come to play a significant role in supporting the NHS by allowing personnel to stay in work, protecting at-risk groups from the virus and boosting staff and national morale.”

If you'd like to get involved or are in need of childcare, bubble is asking for visitors to visit their app for more information. At a time when the NHS is likely to be most stretched, the service is proving essential and a welcome proposition from supporters.