Germany

Army Reservists Test Their Medical Skills In Germany

Army reservists who usually work in the NHS have been in Germany preparing for frontline operations.

Army reservists who usually work in the NHS have been in Germany preparing for frontline operations. 

Soldiers from 205 Scottish Field Hospital have been working under the command of an American Brigade in Bavaria so to ensure they are ready to go if there is a large scale deployment.

Comprised largely of NHS reservists, the unit is Scotland's only reserve field hospital.

In the practise scenario, there has been a major medical incident and ambulances arrived with the wounded. 

It was also an opportunity for the reservists to test a state-of-the-art tented facility that has been used only twice before.

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Captain Dan Burke, who is in his fifties, only joined up last year with no previous military experience. He said: 

“A lot of the things I had to learn were completely new.

"Weapon handling, marching.

“The reason you join is to help out. It’s not to just go to training weekends and not to participate."  

The hospital commander is doctor Douglas Kennedy, who in civilian life is a consultant facial surgeon but as Colonel Kennedy, he has to prepare the people under his command for war.

"Next year we could be deployed if required," he says.

"The plan would be that if a field hospital was required it would be a regular field hospital for the first part of the year and then quickly would be handed over to the reserve units."  

The British are under American command, a sign of growing transatlantic cooperation.  

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Lieutenant Colonel Vivien Maiden, from 306 Hosptial Support Regiment said: "I think in the future it will be very easy to merge the two units together and to work closely. 

"I’ve got an awful lot out of it and I think actually the NHS have got a lot out of me from leadership skills, communications skills, organisational skills."

According to the British medics, cooperation with the Americans can only intensify - and if a British Field hospital is sent to a combat zone, it is unlikely to be without US support.