Anonymous British Army personnel
Anonymous British Army personnel.

Military drafted in to help COVID-impacted ambulance service

Anonymous British Army personnel
Anonymous British Army personnel.

A team of about 150 military personnel is set to join forces with North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) to address staff shortages and increasing pressure due to COVID.

NWAS clinicians will partner with the Armed Forces personnel on the road, dealing with non-emergency patients in the region.

The servicemen and women will be trained in driving ambulances, manual handling, kit familiarisation and basic life support.

NWAS Director of Operations Ged Blezard said it is "no secret that the ambulance service, along with the NHS as a whole, has been under extreme pressure for several months".

He added that the service is now dealing with high numbers of staff absences due to the pandemic, "with around 25% of the workforce currently affected", and felt "now is the right time" to ask the military for help.

"We worked alongside the military last February and March, and it allows us to have more of our vehicles on the road, getting people the treatment they need sooner," he said.

"This frees up emergency ambulances to attend to urgent, life-threatening cases," he added.

The military personnel will start training on 11 January and work with NWAS for a number of weeks.

It comes after the military and NWAS partnered last winter, with Armed Forces personnel deployed on more than 4,600 non-life-threatening 999 incidents, including assisting with transportation of patients between healthcare sites approximately 1,700 times.

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