St Andrews students launch app to help NHS and health care staff

Two St Andrews students have created an app where students can volunteer to help NHS and care staff who need support with daily tasks.

Organisations like GP surgeries, care homes, and shielding groups can use it to request help with non-clinical tasks like medicines delivery too.

Cassandra Baiano and Ronald MacDonald launched HealthSHIP, Health Students Helping in Pandemics, which is free, quick, easy, and has scaled across the UK and Ireland with students from 105 different universities already participating.

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Cassandra said: “HealthSHIP is a student-led social movement rooted in compassion for the health of our communities. Students can’t be on the frontline yet, but we can support those that are.”

It started when Cassandra tweeted that once classes were cancelled, university students could help NHS staff with babysitting. When people started commenting that this would be helpful, she linked up with Ronald to get moving.

Before coming to St Andrews to start their medical degrees, Cassandra and Ronald worked in industry. Ronald brings an extensive background of tech development and security, while Cassandra has experience in project management and partnerships. They thought they could build a fit-for-purpose community asset that would help everyone across the country at this difficult time.

The platform now has over a thousand users and has connected people everywhere.

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Alice, a local student volunteer, said: “Volunteering with HealthSHIP means I can give back to my colleagues and community members during this pandemic.”

Keerthana, another volunteer, added: “I directly experienced the positive impact babysitting had as it enabled staff to return to their jobs. HealthSHIP is a great platform that helps connect the community and support our NHS through this period of crisis.”

A local shielding organisation said: “Using HealthSHIP is so simple. The volunteer was so pleasant and helpful and the whole medication delivery process took only 33 minutes. We are so pleased with the efficiency and effectiveness of the platform.”

While HealthSHIP started as a response to the pandemic, Ronald said: “We believe the impact of Covid-19 will span the entirety of our social fabrics. We hope to continue to enable students to support health and social care long after the pandemic is over.”

Students wanting to get involved and staff needing support can sign up at