‘I have access to PPE equipment that a lot of people don’t’: Former Southampton striker Dexter Blackstock aiming to help NHS through his medical supply chain company
- Dexter Blackstock retired from football in 2017 and is now CEO of MediConnect
- Company is helping fix personal protective equipment issue amid coronavirus
- Blackstock wants to ensure the NHS is provided with certified and safe PPE
- Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID
Retired footballer Dexter Blackstock has pledged to help provide vital personal protective equipment (PPE) to NHS hospitals and care institutions after setting up a donations fund.
The former Nottingham Forest and QPR striker, who quit the game in 2017, is now CEO of medical supply chain company MediConnect and has been using his connections to source vital equipment from manufacturers and wholesalers.
Blackstock, now 33, has also pledged to donate 10p for every retweet of the below post plus £1 for every donation to the fund he set up to buy equipment for key workers.
Dexter Blackstock started professional career at Southampton and is now MediConnect CEO
Blackstock told Southampton fan podcast Oh When The Saints: ‘We have contact with manufacturers, we have contact with distributors, with wholesalers, it is easy or me to go to people i know and get the product people need at the right price instead of getting ripped off by somebody they don’t know who is in it to make a few quid.
‘I have access to PPE equipment that a lot of people don’t.’
Blackstock also highlighted that, with the NHs buying in huge quantities, this created potential issues further down the line for smaller care homes and hospices thathe wanted to address.
He added: ‘They have reached out to me from the NHS, from councils, all the way down to small hospices, small care homes because what has happened is there is such a shortage.
‘NHS are the big boys, NHS have obviously taken as much as they can from suppliers but that has left care homes and everyone else dry because they can’t get anything from suppliers because they don’t have endless amounts of money like the NHS have.
‘It is generating a problem lower down so it is a real issue and I am just happy I can help.
‘Over a million masks have been ordered in the last few days and that is just a small percentage of what this country needs at this time.’
Supplying personal protective equipment to the NHS is vital amid the coronavirus pandemic
The ex-hitman emphasised the importance of ensuring all equipment had correct certification for its use, and felt MediConnect could play a key role in that.
He added: ‘At a time like now in a crisis you have PPE supplies like face masks that is very important for COVID to stop spreading but because there is such a high demand nobody actually knows the authenticity of the equipment. There is a difference between what is needed for specific situations.
‘If it was using MediConnect’s platform they will be able to track it was made at this time, at this place and this was the certification.
‘It adds full transparency throughout the supply chain.’
However, Blackstock did have praise for the approach taken b the health service towards sourcing and providing the necessary equipment.
‘There is a definitely shortage, if anything it has been played down and i don’t think we have peaked yet.
‘From personal dealings with the NHS and government, they have put lives before money, they are paying whatever it costs to get it in because they know it is an emergency situation. This will be needed for a year or more.
Blackstock last played football in 2017 before deciding to quit game and move into business
On the donations fund, Blackstock said: ‘I have a donation page coming, speaking to fellow footballers, friends and anyone who want to help.
‘With donations I am going to buy product direct from factory at cost so no profit and then product come and people can donate to where they want to donate, they can see it and deliver it and have their say on where they want to go
‘People are sat saying “my friend at a hospice needs it and I want to help them specifically”, so we can do that.’
On his retirement in 2017 aged just 31 while at Rotherham with two years left on his contract, Blackstock said: ‘It wasn’t difficult because I wasn’t enjoying being at Rotherham Football Club and I didn’t want to be in the game just picking up my money and not enjoying it.
‘I took my time elsewhere and I’ve never looked back since, I had a good career and played a lot of games at a lot of good clubs but I didn’t want to play in league 1 for a club I wasn’t enjoying.’
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