Staff at easyJet and Virgin Atlantic have been asked to use their first aid skills  to work with healthcare professionals at the new Nightingale hospital as part of the fight against coronavirus.

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, 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.

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.

Many airline staff are first aid trained

Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England, said: “Nurses, doctors and other vital health and social care staff are working day and night to provide the best possible care to patients as the NHS continues to fight this global health pandemic. 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.

“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.”

St John Ambulance are supplying hundreds of volunteers to help staff the first Nightingale hospital at the ExCeL centre in London.

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.