STAFF at a Melksham medical clinic which is having to temporarily close because of the COVID-19 pandemic are donating some of their equipment to the Royal United Hospital in Bath.

The Snowberry Lane Clinic at Ridgway House, Shurnhold, is giving hundreds of personal protective ‘scrubs’ to the RUH to help protect NHS staff.

Dr Rupert Gabriel, a GP at the Spa Medical Practice in Melksham, who founded the clinic with his wife, Ann, who is a State Registered Nurse, says they have no choice but to close because of the coronavirus threat.

“We’ve had some very difficult conversations with our staff over the past 24 hours and we’re having to lay them off because of the coronavirus.

“We’re planning to donate some of the PPE scrubs that we won’t be using to the RUH so they can put them to good use.”

Dr Gabriel, 59, said the clinic was “proactively” trying to look after the health of its 22 staff and thousands of patients.

The clinic, which he and his wife founded 16 years ago, is closing for April, May and June, while the government and the NHS battle to prevent the virus from spreading.

Most of the staff will be laid off with 80 per cent of their salary paid for by the government but two of the clinic’s GPs and one nurse are self-employed and will have to apply for financial support.

The clinic is one of the UK’s leading health and beauty cosmetics providers, specialising in minimally invasive procedures and radio surgery.

It performs skin cancer, carpal tunnel and vasectomy operations, cyst and mole removals, as well as providing cosmetic treatments and medically-supervised Alevere weight loss programmes for patients.

Dr Gabriel added: “We have sufficient capital to keep paying staff while we wait for government support to come through.

“We have explained the situation to our patients and they have been very understanding.

“Some of our staff will re-engage with the NHS and help out with the efforts to contain the coronavirus.

“The main thing is to ensure that we all survive this crisis and protect the business so that we can get up and running quickly when it comes to an end.”