// M&S shares plans to support NHS response to coronavirus in the UK
// Plans include uniform donations to NHS Nightingale in London and scrubs for NHS Derbyshire
// M&S also donating clothing packs for discharged patients and free delivery for 2 London hospitals
Marks & Spencer has announced a series of initiatives to support the NHS’s response to coronavirus in the UK, including clothing donations and a free food delivery service.
M&S said it would donate thousands of specially-branded “We are the NHS” t-shirts as part of the uniform pack for NHS Nightingale frontline team in London, as well as deliver clothing care packs to provide comfort for discharged patients at the temporary hospital.
The retailer also said it would donate over 4000 pyjamas to be used as scrubs to NHS Derbyshire, which is located close to M&S’s Castle Donington distribution centre.
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Meanwhile, from next week M&S Food will start a new, twice-weekly free food delivery service for the NHS workers at the retailer’s hospital partners at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington and Great Ormond Street Hospital.
The high street stalwart added it was donating to the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Urgent Appeal and has enabled customers to select the appeal as their Sparks charity.
“We’re doing our bit to help the NHS by focusing on what we do best – providing great food and clothes – in the hope we can make it just a little easier for our NHS heroes to do what they do best, as well as the patients in their care,” M&S group chief executive Steve Rowe said.
“We get through these challenging times by pulling together and it’s been truly humbling to read the suggestions that have been pouring in from colleagues and customers alike with ideas for how we can help those on the NHS frontline.
“At a time when everyone is facing into personal challenges and our own frontline colleagues are working round the clock – it’s heartening to see the whole nation is getting behind the fantastic NHS teams we’re relying on right now.
“We really are all in this together and I’m delighted we have been able to turn some of those ideas into action.”
M&S said its “We are the NHS” t-shirts will form part of the uniform pack for NHS Nightingale London’s team – making it easier for people to identify the frontline doctors, nurses, staff and volunteers working in the temporary hospital.
The clothing care pack donations for discharged NHS Nightingale patients, which M&S wil source, pack and deliver, include a t-shirt, jumper, joggers, knickers or boxers and socks, and will be available in a range of sizes.
“These packs will ensure real dignity for our patients and make the nurses very proud to be able to provide such an amazing level of care,” NHS Nightingale London chief operating officer Natalie Forrest said.
Meanwhile M&S’s new, twice-weekly free food delivery programme will help feed the teams at Great Ormond Street Hospital and St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, with deliveries of nearly 5000 prepared meals, sandwiches and treats every week for the next two months.
Outside of London, the team at M&S’s Castle Donington distribution centre will donate over 4000 pyjama sets required for doctors and nurses at NHS Royal Derby Hospital to wear as scrubs as they care for patients.
The retailer’s donations for the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Urgent Appeal will help fund essential support for NHS staff and volunteers caring for patients across the UK.
Customers can select NHS Charities Together – partners of the Clap for Carers initiative – as their preferred Sparks charity, enabling M&S to continue donating every time customers shop in its food stores and online.
As well as supporting hospitals, M&S has introduced steps to help make it easier NHS staff to access the products and services they need quickly and easily.
It follows the introduction of special shopping hours for NHS, emergency service and health and social care workers every Tuesday and Friday during the first hour of trade and dedicated M&S Bank telephone banking hours from 6pm to 7pm every day.
M&S has also increased the size and product range of daily deliveries to its 46 hospital stores across the UK to help NHS workers access essential family products.
Staff in these stores are also offering free hot drinks to NHS workers.