Mar 30, 2020

Grounded airline staff asked to bolster NHS resources

Thousands of airline cabin crew grounded by the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK are being asked to support doctors and nurses at new temporary field hospitals being built around the UK. The offer to redeploy airline staff comes as the NHS confirmed the death of its first frontline doctor from the virus in Britain. With the NHS bracing itself for a dramatic increase in coronavirus patients in the next month, the government is urgently trying to recruit extra medical staff to deal with the emergency which has already claimed the lives of more than 1,200 people in the UK. According to NHS England, the budget airline easyJet has now written to all 9,000 of its UK based staff, which includes 4,000 cabin crew who are trained in CPR, to ask for volunteers to work at the new hospitals being rapidly built in conference centres in major British cities. Totis Kotsonis, a state aid expert at law firm Pinsent Masons, said the offer of staff support from the airlines was welcome but added that the government's approach towards financial help for the industry "Seems appropriate". Corneel Koster, chief customer officer at Virgin Atlantic, said: "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." Tina Milton, director of cabin services for easyJet, said: "We have all needed the NHS at some point in our lives and we are so proud that our crew can now help to support the NHS at this crucial time."

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