65,000 retired nurses and doctors in England and Wales are being asked to return to frontline services to help boost the NHS as demand for critical services climbs during the coronavirus pandemic.
With the NHS already under strain across the country, and London in particular being seen as a focus for increased capacity – Health Secretary Matt Hancock is making a “call to arms” to help the country deal with its biggest crisis since WW1, with unprecedented demand across the health service in different parts of the country.
After historic announcements made this week by the Prime Minister including the closure of all schools from today and an emergency cash boost of £330 billion to businesses, the government is looking to shore up capacity to handle an increase in coronavirus cases.
A number of additional measures are also being considered including the chartering of cruise liners to act as hospital ships, turning hotels into triage centers for cases and army deployment for extra capacity to treat patients. The government has also called upon manufacturers to start producing ventilators at breakneck speed to handle what is anticipated to be record demand for intensive care units to help those affected with the most severe respiratory symptoms.
People that have left the NHS will be “able to rejoin immediately” and the Health Secretary is also bringing forward refresher courses for those who have been out of the service for a number of years to provide them with training to get back into frontline services.
The government’s overall strategy is to reduce the peak of the coronavirus as much as possible while significantly ramping up capacity and ‘shielding’ the most vulnerable including people with pre-existing health conditions, and those that are over the age of 70.