The UK's NHS (National Health Service) has enlisted easyJet and Virgin Atlantic crews to work alongside clinicians at the new Nightingale hospitals as part of the fight against coronavirus.

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 UK.

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.

Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England, said, “Nurses, doctors and other vital health and social care staff are working night and day to provide the best possible care to patients as the NHS continues to fight this global health pandemic. Thousands of nurses, medics and other expert 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 following government advice to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”

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 expert training provided to all new recruits when they sign up.

Tina Milton, Director of Cabin Services for easyJet commented, “We have all needed the NHS at some point in our lives and so we are 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.”

Corneel Koster, Chief Customer Officer at Virgin Atlantic, said, “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.”