THE Government is seeking 250,000 NHS volunteers to help national health service employees with 'shopping, delivery of medicines and to support those who are shielded', it was announced today (Tuesday, March 24).

Health Secretary Matt Hancock gave a press briefing shortly before 5pm this afternoon, in which he also said 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.

In response to the UK's call for retired medics to return to the NHS, Mr Hancock says more than 11,500 have come forward, including 2,660 doctors and 6,147 nurses.

He added that more than 18,000 medical students will also join the NHS workforce.

Mr Hancock also emphasised that the steps outlined by the prime minister on Monday "are not requests, they are rules".

He says "everyone has a responsibility to follow those rules" and called on the country to come together in the national effort.