Virgin Atlantic and easyJet have asked thousands of staff to help at the new NHS Nightingale Hospitals.
EasyJet has written to all of its 9,000 UK-based staff, which includes 4,000 cabin crew who are trained in CPR.
Virgin Atlantic is to write to 4,000 employees on Monday, prioritising those with the skills and training required for the roles.
Those who sign up will perform clinical support roles such as changing beds, tending to patients and assisting doctors and nurses working on the wards.
They will be working at the NHS Nightingale Hospital at World Travel Market venue ExCel in London and other temporary hospitals due to be set up at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre and Manchester’s Central Convention Centre.
Many airline staff are first aid trained or hold other clinical qualifications, as well as being security cleared.
Expert training will be provided to all new recruits when they sign-up and NHS clinicians will oversee their work.
Corneel Koster, chief customer officer at Virgin Atlantic, said: “We are very grateful to the NHS for everything they are doing in extremely challenging circumstances and we’re committed to doing all we can to support the national effort against the rapid acceleration of Covid-19.
“We are very proud of our highly skilled people at Virgin Atlantic and since the government’s coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was announced, we have been inundated with our employees looking to help other organisations at this time of crisis.
“The NHS approached us with this unique opportunity as they recognise the value and experience our medically trained cabin crew and trainers will bring to the incredible Nightingale Hospital initiative.”
Staff and volunteers working at the new hospitals will be offered free accommodation and meals.
Tina Milton, director of cabin services for easyJet, said: “We have all needed the NHS at some point in our lives and so we are so proud that our crew can now help to support the NHS at this crucial time.
“The NHS is at the forefront of dealing with this health emergency but the training and skills our cabin crew have, working closely with the medical professionals, could help make a real difference.”
Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England, said: “Thousands of staff are returning to work alongside us, but we need everyone to do their bit – whether that is working in one of our current health or social care services, working in the Nightingale Hospital, volunteering to help the NHS or staying home to save lives.”
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