British airlines ask furloughed workers to help at coronavirus hospitals

Henrietta Strickland
April 1, 2020

Britain's temporary hospitals are seeking volunteers from airlines, calling on cabin crew members who are now grounded to use their first-aid skills and calm manner to help get the new Nightingale hospitals up and running.

Soldiers from 1 Royal Anglian Regiment working in the ExCeL.

Many others will also be assisting in other makeshift centres set up in different parts of the country.

His first aid training and security clearance mean he is a desirable recruit for the new hospitals, as does his experience working in what can be a high-stress environment.

"I think if you're in the same situation as myself, if you're fit and well enough, you should go and volunteer".

On the scale of the Nightingale Hospital, he said: "It is extremely impressive".

"Our resources will be stretched, and our people will be tested, but we will stop at nothing to help beat this virus".

The two new sites, based at Birmingham's NEC and Manchester's Central Convention Complex, will provide support for patients from across the Midlands and North West of England.

Their salaries will continue to be paid by the airlines.

Many cabin crews trained in first aid around the world have been grounded while countries have closed their borders and canceled flights in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Work being carried out the ExCeL to turn it into a temporary hospital.

EasyJet has already written to its 9,000 UK-based staff including 4,000 cabin crew trained in CPR to invite them to give their time to the NHS.

Virgin Atlantic, which has cut four-fifths of its flights and asked staff to take eight weeks' unpaid leave, will write to 4,000 employees today (30 March), prioritising those with the required skills.

Tina Milton, director of cabin services at EasyJet, added: "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".

The support workers will change beds and perform other "non-clinical" tasks under the supervision of clinicians, officials said.

"I want to keep flying, I want to keep my job, the same as everybody else, so we're all more than happy to support our airline to get to where we need to be to return to flying", he said.

Sir Simon also said that intensive care beds are available for those that need them, adding that the Government is "pulling out all the stops" to procure personal protective equipment for NHS staff.

"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", Corneel Koster, Virgin Atlantic's chief customer officer, said in a release.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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