Grounded pilots and airline crews serving up teas to NHS staff at the Whittington
Highgate hospital is first to launch landmark scheme set to be rolled out across country
01 April, 2020 — By Tom Foot
Whittington staff and airline crews at the hospital today
PILOTS from grounded airlines are serving tea to NHS workers in a new “first class lounge” at the Whittington Hospital.
Project Wingman was launched this week with flight deck and cabins crews providing “tea and sympathy” for staff between shifts.
British Airways, BA CityFlyer, EasyJet and Norwegian – which have all grounded flights due to the coronavirus lockdown – have been waiting on hospital workers in full uniform.
They are also using their “problem solving and decompression techniques learned from their training for managing stressful and pressurised situations”, according the NHS trust.
Captain Dave Fielding of British Airways and Captain Emma Henderson of EasyJet sent out a “call to arms to all aircrew across every airline regardless of brand”, adding: “This is a unilateral response by a group of uniformed professionals from across the airline industry.”
The scheme has started at the Whittington and is due to be rolled out across the country. More than 500 volunteers from the airlines are due to take part in the scheme.
Professor Rob Bor, a consultant clinical psychologist at the Whittington, said: “We immediately thought of airline staff and reached out to them to support us. Many airline crews have been grounded by the global effects of Covid-19 and we recognised that this represents a rich resource of a uniformed and disciplined workforce, used to problem-solving and providing care.”
Chief executive Siobhan Harrington added: “The impact of having uniformed fellow professionals actively support our front line staff will be enormous. We cannot thank the pilots and cabin crew enough. Professionals coming together to support our staff will help more than you can imagine. This will be a massive boost to our resources, capability and morale. We are deeply grateful.”
Airline crew will not be working directly with patients, but will support staff in a number of practical ways so they can do their job effectively.