Chief Of The Defence Staff: Support Of 'Heroic' Healthcare Workers Is Military's Role

The Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) has spoken of the support the military has been giving to the NHS as one of the biggest challenges he has seen in his career.

General Sir Nick Carter told the daily coronavirus press conference at Downing Street: "First and foremost this has been a logistic task and I would say that I think in all of my more than 40 years of service this is the single greatest logistic challenge that I have come across."

He said in 25 days the NHS had gone from the 240 customers they normally deliver to, up to nearly 50,000 customers, adding that it involved creating 260,000 sq ft of distribution warehousing.

Gen Carter also said: "Our role has been entirely in support of the heroic healthcare workers on the frontline – that’s both the NHS and social care – with humility very much being our watchword in the way that we give that support."

He also praised Captain Tom Moore, the veteran who raised millions for NHS charities before turning 100: "I think everyone would agree that Captain Tom Moore embodies the sense of service and duty ingrained in our Armed Forces."

Gen Carter also spoke about the military involvement in preparing mobile pop-up testing centres in a bid to roll-out more COVID-19 testing.

He said: "We think the innovative idea of pop-ups, rather like mobile libraries, would be a very useful way of going.

"What we are trying to do at the moment is up-scale that idea so that we have enough capacity to get out into those areas which are harder to reach."

He added that more Armed Forces personnel could be deployed in the fight against coronavirus: "Between three and four thousand of our people have been involved, with around 20,000 available the whole time at a high readiness."

A total of 2,848 personnel are currently deployed to assist with 73 military aid to the civil authorities (MACA) requests.

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