Hancock to launch a scheme inviting up to 250,000 people to volunteer to contribute to the fight against coronavirus.
Matt Hancock “Today we launch NHS volunteers. We are seeking a quarter of a million volunteers, people in good health to help the NHS, for shopping, for the delivery of medicines and to support those who are shielding to protect their own health.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the Government is launching a new scheme to recruit 250,000 volunteers to support the NHS through the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at the Government press briefing, Mr Hancock said more than 35,000 extra NHS staff would be helping fight against Covid-19, including retired doctors, nurses and final years students joining frontline services.
He said: “We are seeking a quarter of a million volunteers, people in good health to help the NHS, for shopping, for the delivery of medicines and to support those who are shielding to protect their own health.”
The plea for volunteers comes after Mr Hancock urged former hospital staff, including doctors and nurses, to return to the NHS last week.
Hancock said that 11,788 recently retired NHS staff had responded to the call to return to the service. They included 2,660 doctors, more than 2,500 pharmacists and other staff and 6,147 nurses, he said. And some 5,500 final-year medics and 18,700 final-year student nurses would “move to the frontline” next week.
London’s ExCel Centre being converted into makeshift hospital to deal with coronavirus patients
He said a temporary, 4,000-bed hospital, the “NHS Nightingale Hospital”, would be opening at the ExCel centre. He said: “We will, next week, open a new hospital – a temporary hospital – the NHS Nightingale Hospital at the Excel centre in London.
The NHS Nightingale Hospital will comprise two wards, each of 2,000 people.
The Ministry of Defence are helping to set up the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital at the ExCel, while is expected to have around 4,000 beds in two separate wards.
Speaking at the daily Government press conference, Mr Hancock said: “We will, next week, open a new hospital – a temporary hospital – the NHS Nightingale Hospital at the Excel centre in London.
“With the help of the military and with NHS clinicians we will make sure that we have the capacity that we need so that everyone can get the support that they need.”
More centres like the ExCel are being identified as possible makeshift hospitals if needed.
Military planners visited the 70,000 visitor capacity centre in east London’s Docklands on Sunday to see how the site could be utilised.
The UK death toll rises
The UK death toll from coronavirus has risen by 87 in a day to a total of 422, according to the government.
There were also more than 1,400 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 as of 9am on Tuesday, bringing the total to 8,077.
A total of 90,436 people have been tested.
It marked the biggest daily increase in both deaths and cases in the UK so far — but experts believe we are still two or three weeks away from the peak of the outbreak.
The new deaths included 83 patients in England aged between 33 and 103. All were in vulnerable groups, including those with underlying health conditions.
Wales reported one new death and 60 new cases, Scotland recorded two more deaths and 85 new cases and Northern Ireland reported one more death.
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