The NHS: what does the clap do?3 min read

Every Thursday at 8pm, people across the UK stand outside their homes, flats and workplaces to applaud the incredible work of the National Health Service. Whilst the clap is a nice gesture, with a positive impact upon communities in the country, how beneficial is this really to the NHS?

The Clap

The origins of the NHS clap within the UK derived from 36-year-old Annemarie Plas. After seeing a similar concept occurring in her home country, the Netherlands, she thought it would be an amazing idea to bring to the UK. She told Mirror Online that they saw “the boost it gave to the frontline”, which, of course, has been proven right, as frontline workers have captured themselves joining in with the gesture too.

The clap provides the opportunity for neighbours, neighbourhoods and even strangers to come together during a confusing and unsettling time to catch up with each other. The importance of checking in regularly amongst family members, friends and colleagues has been widely stressed since the beginning of the lockdown, and therefore, the clap has been recognised as a way of doing so. Households have also been placing hand-drawn or painted rainbows from their front windows, in honour of the frontline NHS staff.

My neighbours succeed in showing their appreciation every Thursday evening. However, I have noticed a slight decline in participants since the first clap was held on March 26. The reasons behind this could be countless.

Photo: Dan Burton/Unsplash

What is being done to help?

Despite the fact that the clap has provided a positive impact on the morality of the country, what is being, or can be, done to really help the NHS? Hundreds of civilians are dying every day due to the virus. NHS frontline staff have a short supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), meaning they themselves are contracting the virus; so how does the clap help them in that aspect?

There have been many challenges surfacing on the internet, specifically via many social media platforms, with the aim of raising money and awareness for the NHS. An example would be the 555 challenge, where individuals would donate £5 to an NHS charity, run 5k and tag five friends to do the same. It was great to see so many people take part and donate, but at the end of the day, it is important to underline the fact that the NHS is not a charity.

It is a publicly-funded healthcare system, and the government should be focused on upkeeping the demands staff require. There have been many claims that the PPE provided by the government is outdated, and stickers, with a more recent date, have been plastered on top to mask this. The chair of the Royal College of Nursing’s GPN Forum, Ellen Nicholson, tweeted: “Expiry dates need checking before sending out. Out of date stock protects no one.”

Photo: United Nations COVID-19 Response/Unsplash

How can you help?

Individuals, small businesses and larger organisations have been actively helping support frontline staff. From delivering food to hospitals across the nation to sewing handmade PPE kits, the public has shown immense gratitude towards the hard work of all the NHS staff. Any aid to help them through this time has been handled with great care.

So, how can you contribute? As mentioned above, you could help cook meals and deliver them to your local hospital. Sewing clothes would also be a great way of helping out the staff; there are several pages surfacing the internet on how to do so. An example would be the Facebook group Oh-Sew-Whitty, who have advertised job opportunities as well as donated scrubs. Gifting essential hospital items, such as bulks of soap or hand sanitizer via Amazon would be another thoughtful idea. Whilst the possibilities are endless, the best way of helping the NHS is to stay at home!

Zahra Prasetyo


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