Sweden offers lifeline to grounded airline workers with vital COVID 19 hospital role

The crew from crisis hit airline SAS are taking a three day course in general hospital practice. Out-of-work crew are hoping to help the Swedish healthcare system meet the demand of thousands of coronavirus cases.

SAS is partially owned by the Swedish and Danish governments.

The airline has temporarily laid off 10,000 to cut costs from the loss of air travel amid the pandemic.

That equals 90 percent of the airlines workforce, who are now seeking other employment for the time being.

Flights around the world have been mostly grounded due to border closures attempting to curb the virus’ spread.

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Stockholm’s healthcare system is in desperate need of reinforcements for medical staff.

Sophiahemmet University Hospital has reached out to former cabin crew, offering to teach them general hospital working skills.

These involve sterilising equipment, making hospital beds and providing medical information to patients and relatives.

The intensive course teaches furloughed workers all the skills needed in three days.

The first students are due to complete the course on Thursday.

Johanna Adami, principal at the University, has said the response has been overwhelming.

She said: “We now have a long, long list of healthcare providers that are just waiting for them.

“They have basic healthcare education from their work.

“They are also very experienced to be flexible and think about security and also to handle complicated situations.”


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According to the principal, hospitals and nursing homes are desperate to employ the newly trained staff.

Currently the hospital are predicted to create 300 new healthcare workers.

Adami said that airline staff are well suited to the retraining, and have basic experience from their previous work.

Airlines in Australia and the US have enquired about the hospitals training methods.

Sweden has 4,435 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of Wednesday evening.

Of that number, 180 have died after contracting the virus.

The Swedish government has come under fire for not introducing lockdown measures.

Prime Minster Stefan Löfven addressed the nation on the 22nd of March, saying: “We who are adults need to be exactly that: adults. Not spread panic or rumours.”

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