Tesco plans to open pop-up shops at NHS Nightingale sites across the UK to give healthcare workers easy access to food and essential household items.

The supermarket giant has already started construction on its first dedicated NHS Nightingale Hospital pop-up store at the NEC in Birmingham.

It is in discussions with other temporary hospital sites, including those at London’s ExCeL centre, Manchester and Harrogate.

Details of the plans emerged after Tesco revealed it had signed up to SalutetheNHS.org, an alliance of businesses that aims to deliver meals to NHS staff on the front line battling coronavirus.

Tesco boss Dave Lewis said: “As part of our continued commitment to support and thank those in the NHS for all they are doing, we began work on Sunday on our first dedicated NHS Nightingale Hospital pop-up store, at the NEC in Birmingham.

“Following an idea from Public Health England, we will be providing NHS staff with on-site 24-hour access to the food and household products they need.

“We’re in late-stage discussions with other Nightingale sites and hope that this is the first of several pop-up Tesco stores to help NHS staff access the essentials they need, as quickly and conveniently as possible.”

Tesco said it aims to have the Birmingham pop-up open by the end of this week.

In its regular stores, Tesco has eased purchasing limits as stock levels and demand continue to return to more normal levels.

Tesco had put in place restrictions of three items per customer on all products, which it has now removed on everything except toilet rolls, personal cleaning products, packets and tins of food, eggs and home-baking products.

It said these restrictions will remain in place “for a little longer” during the pandemic.

The supermarket giant has increased its online delivery capacity by a fifth over the past two weeks, adding 145,000 home delivery slots.

It has contacted 75,000 existing customers on the government’s list of 100,000 clinically vulnerable and isolated people to make home delivery slots available to them. Tesco urged other shoppers to “think before you click” and shop in stores if they are able to do so.