Army drafted in to support overwhelmed ambulance services as COVID-19 crisis intensifies

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The latest deployment will involve nearly 200 personnel from all three branches of the military, who will be sent to provide assistance at five ambulance trusts. Their duties will primarily involve driving ambulances, as well as taking emergency calls from the public. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace praised the military, as he said: “Our armed forces always step forward at the appearance of threats to the country and its people.

“Across the United Kingdom, soldiers, sailors, airmen and women have got the backs of our NHS colleagues as they confront coronavirus.”

At least 80 service personnel will be stationed at the South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, while in London 21 military medics will form 10 teams responsible for transferring seriously ill patients between intensive care units.

Military engineers are also helping the London Ambulance Service to maintain vital equipment such as suction units.

Up to 37 troops will be dispatched to provide support for the East of England Ambulance Service, which covers six counties including Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire.

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THE BRITISH MILITARY is being drafted in to help ambulance services around the country (Image: GETTY)

Countdown blunder: Rachel Riley's huge mistake after replacing Carol Vorderman exposed

The latest deployment will involve nearly 200 personnel from all three branches of the military (Image: GETTY)

The group all have prior experience of working as emergency responders, having trained and volunteered with the service in the past.

At the same time Wales will receive a contingent of 60 army personnel, who completed an ambulance training course at Sennybridge Training Camp near Brecon on April 7.

The soldiers will assist Welsh paramedics with non-clinical tasks.

The British government has made liberal use of the military in a number of ventures during the course of the present health crisis.

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Eighty service personnel will be stationed at the South Central Ambulance Service (Image: GETTY)

RAF members are helping the Scottish Ambulance Service to trial a medical isolation and transport system.

This involves transporting critically ill people to hospital using RAF Puma helicopters.

In addition, the military helped to plan and construct the NHS Nightingale Hospital at the ExCel Centre in London.

Furthermore, armed forces personnel made up of 39 drivers and 63 driver’s mates have been trained to fill and transport oxygen tankers to NHS facilities.

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The British government has made liberal use of the military in a number of ventures (Image: GETTY)

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The Health Secretary Matt Hancock provoked anger (Image: GETTY)

Hundreds of personnel are delivering supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) to hospitals around the country, amid reported shortages of the vital equipment.

Throughout the pandemic, NHS staff have repeatedly complained that they lack essential basics with regards to protective clothing such as medical gowns, gloves, masks and googles.

As many as 19 NHS workers are believed to have died after becoming infected with COVID-19 through their work.

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Coronavirus Symptoms (Image: EXPRESS)

The government has insisted that there are enough supplies of PPE and have suggested that health staff may be overusing the protective equipment.

The Health Secretary Matt Hancock provoked anger, when he told BBC 4’s Today Programme on Saturday that “it’s really important that people don’t overuse PPE either.

“I don’t want to impugn blame on people who have used more PPE than the guidelines suggest because I understand the difficulties in the circumstances.”

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At the same time Wales will receive a contingent of 60 army personnel (Image: GETTY)

This provoked a furious rebuttal from the head of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Dame Donna Kinnair.

Ms Kinnair told BBC Breakfast: “I take offence actually that we are saying that healthcare workers are abusing or overusing PPE.

“I think what we know is, we don’t have enough supply and not enough regular supply of PPE.

“This is the number one priority nurses are bringing to my attention, that they do not have adequate supply of protective equipment.”


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