SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines (SIA) will provide at least 300 "care ambassadors" to help fill a manpower gap at hospitals, in light of the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country.
Responding to CNA's queries on Friday (Apr 3), the national carrier said there is an "urgent and growing need to fill the manpower gap for the care of other patients as hospital nurses are re-directed from their original duties to care for patients infected with COVID-19".
This programme has so far received more than 300 applications and the number of care ambassadors will be reviewed depending on the needs of the hospitals, it added.
READ: 65 new COVID-19 infections in Singapore; 3 new clusters including Singapore Cricket Club and MBS rooftop bar
READ: COVID-19: Singapore makes 'decisive move' to close most workplaces and impose full home-based learning for schools, says PM Lee
“To support the nation, Singapore Airlines has opened its call for support to all cabin crew to fill the role of care ambassador. With our crew’s expertise at providing care and world-class service, they are deemed to be a natural fit for this role.
“The spirit of giving back to the community runs high in the company’s culture, as evident in the numerous ways our crew have risen to the occasion in this trying time,” said the airline.
Under the supervision of nursing staff, care ambassadors will provide administrative support and attend to patients who require routine medical care in a non-clinical role.
This can include, but is not limited to, care-giving such as attending to call bells, helping patients to sit up in bed, accompanying patients to the washrooms, serving of meals and assisting during therapy sessions.
Care ambassadors may also help with service management such as collating feedback from patients and families as well as managing visitor traffic, said SIA.
READ: COVID-19: SIA reaches agreement with unions for cost-cutting measures affecting 10,000 employees
SIA said the application is open to cabin crew who are Singaporean or permanent residents. They will then have to go through a mandatory training programme conducted by the hospital.
“There will be competencies to be attained before they are allowed to be deployed to the wards. Our crew have been trained in first aid and customer handling skills, which are part of the skillset to be a patient care provider,” SIA added.
Regarding the safety of the care ambassadors, SIA said the staff members will be deployed at low-risk wards in some of the hospitals.
“The safety of our staff is our top-most priority. Cabin crew who sign up as care ambassadors will be placed in a safe environment with necessary precautions taken. The scope of duties will not require care ambassadors to come into close contact with bodily fluids or COVID-19 patients.”
Care ambassadors will also be trained on safety measures and necessary infection control to protect them from unnecessary exposure to injuries and infections.
READ: COVID-19 Resilience Budget: ‘Landmark’ S$48 billion package to tide Singapore through ‘unprecedented’ crisis
All staff members will be required to report their temperature twice a day and not report to work if unwell to prevent any spread of illness. Vaccinations will also be provided by the hospital, said SIA.
Care ambassadors will need to commit to a minimum of three months of service, with an option for a three-month extension.
They will earn a monthly salary, subject to CPF contributions and income tax, and will not be entitled to any monthly salary or monthly fixed allowances from SIA. In addition, care ambassadors are not entitled to any ex-gratia or bonus payouts provided to healthcare staff during the contract period.