Day 01 /// England and Wales
September 28, 2020
Toughest Sequence of Days of the Trip: Days 1–3
Favorite Healthcare Worker of the Trip: Laura Thomas
With considerable excitement, we hit the road for our first leg of travel. Departing London, we headed first for Stoke-on-Trent, where we met with Nigel’s cousin Laura Thomas, a nurse at the Royal Stoke University Hospital, for our first interview exploring the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic across the continent, learning about the challenges she and her colleagues have faced. Next, we zigzagged across England, reaching Gerrards Cross, where we were welcomed into the gorgeous and imposing sandstone home of Maliha Jaffer, the head of UK and Europe for Yourway, meeting with her and her colleague Hussein Pirbhai.
After enjoying their gracious hospitality, we got on the road to Wales a bit behind schedule, the first hint of a challenge that would stick with us throughout the trip. After an amazing drive through Welsh valleys, we arrived in Cardiff near the harbor in a heavy rainstorm, where we had a scheduled (and a bit tardy) meeting with Matthew Lakelin of TrakCel, with whom we discussed the future of supply chain and clinical trials logistics, particularly for smaller trials investigating things like cell and gene therapies.
The day also introduced us to one of the unique ways people are adapting commerce in the context of COVID-19: Phill needed to download an app to his phone in order to order a meal from a semi-portable kiosk. Although we were the only people there; they still required that we use the app! After that, we continued on a roughly 200-mile drive up to Holyhead, Wales, where we checked into a hotel to catch less than an hour of sleep.
THE TEAM MET WITH:
Maliha Jaffer and Hussein Pirbhai, Yourway; Dr. Matthew Lakelin, Trakcel; Laura Thomas, Royal Stoke University Hospital