easyJet and Virgin Atlantic Cabin Crew to work at NHS Nightingale hospitals

The NHS has enlisted easyJet and Virgin Atlantic to work alongside NHS clinicians at new Nightingale hospitals as part of the fight against coronavirus.

Monday, 30th March 2020, 7:04 am

The airlines are asking staff who have not been working since the COVID-19 pandemic grounded some planes to consider helping the thousands of doctors, nurses and other medics at the new hospitals being built across the country.

easyJet has already written to all 9,000 of its UK based staff, which includes 4,000 cabin crew who are trained in CPR, while Virgin Atlantic will write to approximately 4,000 of their employees from Monday (30 March), prioritising those with the required skills and training.

Those who sign up will perform support roles, under the close instruction of nurses and senior clinicians on the wards at the NHS Nightingale Hospitals across the country.

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Newly installed signage for the field hospital to be known as the NHS Nightingale Hospital being created at the ExCeL London exhibition centre in London. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

The NHS has confirmed that the new hospitals are being built in London, Birmingham and Manchester and other sites are being considered should the need arise.

Support workers will work alongside experienced clinicians, changing beds, doing other non-clinical tasks and helping doctors and nurses working on the wards.

Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England, said: “The NHS is mobilising like never before, but the scale of this challenge has not been seen in peacetime so we need all the support we can get.

Many airline staff are first aid trained or hold other clinical qualifications as well as being security cleared, while NHS clinicians will oversee their work – with training provided to all new recruits when they sign-up.

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.”

Corneel Koster, chief customer officer at Virgin Atlantic, added: 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 also be offered free accommodation.