Wei Zhang, Nurse Specialist in Rheumatology Team

Wei Zhang is a nurse specialist in our rheumatology team and has worked at the Trust since 2009.

At the start of the Covid-19 outbreak, Wei worked with an acquaintance at the Bank of China, as well as a number of other Chinese businesses based in London, to donate over 150,000 items of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the NHS.

Thanks to her work, and the help of St George’s Hospital Charity, our staff have benefited from their generous donations – we spoke to Wei to learn more.

Tell us a bit about your donation and how it came about?

Since the start of the pandemic, I was in touch with the CEO of the Bank of China and also the chairman of China Chamber of Commerce in the UK, who is a personal contact. He approached me to say he had a shipment of PPE that had been funded by Chinese businesses based in London that they wanted to donate.

They were all keen to give something back to show they care about the UK, and they remembered the kindness of the UK government in offering support to China at the start of outbreak.

I knew how much frontline staff needed PPE so I was able to introduce the chairman to the right people – over the years I’ve worked with St George’s Hospital Charity, so I put him in touch with Amerjit Chohan, Chief Executive who was able to help.

They also wanted to donate to other Trusts in London, so through connections at other hospitals, they were able to provide PPE to Imperial, King’s, Addenbrooke’s Cambridge, Oxford, Epsom and St Helier and Guy’s and St Thomas’, as well as a GP practice in Wandsworth and a care home in Wimbledon.

How difficult was it to arrange such large donations of PPE?

Well shipping the items from China is difficult and takes time, but as soon as they arrived the PPE was delivered on the same day by courier.

At St George’s, Amerjit and the charity have been amazing in helping with distributing the donations.

Tom Shearer, Deputy Chief Financial Officer, and David Main, Director of Procurement, have also been a great help.

What has been the reaction of your colleagues when they found out?

I’ve been sent so many lovely emails saying well done. I’ve also had some nice thank yous from the other Trusts too, including a certificate from the University of Cambridge!

It’s all been very unexpected and very touching.