Interserve, the outsourcing firm, has begun hiring 1500 staff to meet demands from the NHS for a temporary workforce at the network of hospitals set up to treat coronavirus patients.
Sky News understands that the privately owned company is recruiting staff to work on a range of contracts, including one to be announced on Thursday at the new Manchester Nightingale Hospital.
Interserve’s construction arm is also scheduled to complete work on the Birmingham hospital at the NEC on Good Friday, with capacity eventually expected to reach 4,000 beds.
A person close to the company said its work had involved more than 40,000 man hours in the first week of construction, with more than 64 miles of cable, 10 miles of copper piping and installed vinyl flooring across the equivalent of 11 football pitches.
The first of the Nightingale facilities opened at London’s ExCel Centre earlier this week, with further sites under development in Bristol and Harrogate.
Interserve is also recruiting hundreds of staff for work with the London Ambulance Service and in other areas of the NHS.
The rapid scaling-up of its workforce, which has been echoed across the outsourcing sector, comes during a period of intense strain on healthcare services, with demand from hospitalised COVID-19 patients expected to peak in the coming days.
A central clearing house of employees from outsourcers including Capita, Interserve, Mitie and Serco was set up last month to enable staff to be redeployed on active projects.
The new Interserve roles would provide an opportunity for workers furloughed elsewhere in the UK economy to earn additional income, one source said.
Interserve declined to comment.