ONE lesson (of many!) the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us is how ill-prepared the NHS was for the huge increase in use, and how it struggled to cope as a result of the rapid transmission of the virus.

NHS figures available online state that around six per cent of the UK population has contracted it so far (nearly four million people), with many having to be hospitalised over the last year.

NHS staff have performed heroically and I think us mere mortals, observing from our lockdown bunkers, have been in awe of the efforts they have made.

But many of them are now shattered and we have scraped through by the skin of our teeth, with the lockdown largely a measure to protect further strain on hospitals.

The Nightingale Hospitals were a great idea but ultimately failed due to a lack of trained staff to use them.

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We must be in a better state of readiness for the next one, and I think we need to give urgent consideration as to how hospitals can be rapidly staffed in an emergency.

We have a system for doing this for the army in times of need.

The Territorial Army, where men and women can volunteer to take time out of their jobs to train for urgent and rapid deployment.

Maybe something similar should be considered to get volunteers to train for urgent medical need?

This could help take the strain off fully trained nursing staff and enable things like the Nightingale Hospitals to work.