A NEW scheme launched by the government will see 250,000 people in good health volunteering to help the NHS.

Health secretary Matt Hancock announced the initiative during today's press conference.

The volunteers will help the health service support vulnerable people across the UK.

Mr Hancock confirmed that a new hospital called the Nightingale Hospital with capacity for 4,000 people will open next week at the Excel Centre in east London after being set up with the help of the military.

Mr Hancock said: "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."
He added 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.
"I pay tribute to each and every one of those who is returning to the NHS at its hour of need," Mr Hancock said.

Some 5,500 final-year medics and 18,700 final-year student nurses would "move to the frontline" next week.