Airline crew from across the industry have come together to form Project Wingman to support the wellbeing of frontline NHS staff during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Project Wingman began at one North London hospital and within a week rolled out to North Middlesex, Basildon, Southend and Mid-Essex, and is potentially coming to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Tunbridge Wells and Maidstone, Worthing, Frimley Park and York in the coming days. The project is also in the process of expanding and offering similar services to hospital staff in the US, New Zealand, Japan and Australia.
The project creates the atmosphere of a small airline lounge for doctors, nurses and allied health professionals providing them with refreshments, a chance to unwind, decompress and unload or simply have a conversation with a fellow professional who is used to the pressures of working in a stressful environment.
There are currently over 1200 volunteer crew from different UK airlines including Norwegian, easyJet, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, TUI, Flybe, Jet2 and Loganair on hand to help NHS staff during and after their shifts throughout the day.
“We want to look after the wellbeing of all of all frontline NHS staff” says Professor Rob Bor, consultant clinical psychologist: “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.”
Volunteer airline crew do not work directly with patients, they support staff in practical ways so they can do their job effectively by using their unique skills in problem solving and calming techniques learned from their training for managing stressful and pressurised situations. Above all they will be offering a listening ear, comfort and kindness when staff need it most.
For more information or for aircrew to volunteer please visit projectwingman.co.uk