Coronavirus Welsh Ambulance Service - a member of Seven Brigade loads a stretcher onto an ambulance ready for use 060420 CREDIT MOD.jpg

Coronavirus: Armed Forces Personnel Support Ambulance Services

Coronavirus Welsh Ambulance Service - a member of Seven Brigade loads a stretcher onto an ambulance ready for use 060420 CREDIT MOD.jpg

Nearly 200 Armed Forces personnel from the COVID Support Force are being mobilised to support ambulance services across the country.

In response to the coronavirus outbreak, members of the British Army, the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy will support NHS ambulance services as they face increased pressure.

"Our Armed Forces always step forward at the appearance of threats to the country and its people," Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said.

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

members of various British Army Regiments are being introduced to pieces of medical equipment ready to assist Ambulance drivers and Paramedics in Wales 070420 CREDIT MOD.jpg
Members of various British Army regiments have been introduced to medical equipment ahead of assisting ambulance drivers and paramedics in Wales (Picture: MOD).

Many of the people the Ministry of Defence is mobilising are civilian emergency responders in their off-duty time.

They will be wearing NHS uniforms as they assist in a variety of roles such as driving emergency response vehicles, taking calls from the public, working in response centres or as support frontline paramedics.

Ten Critical Care Transfer teams consisting of 21 Armed Forces medical personnel will support the London Ambulance Service moving critically ill patients between intensive care units when required.

A small number of engineers from the British Army’s Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) have also been working with the London Ambulance Service to maintain suction units used to care for patients in ambulances.

Eighty personnel have been mobilised to support the South Central Ambulance Service's frontline response to COVID-19 in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Sussex and Surrey.

They will man emergency response vehicles, drive ambulances and support emergency response centres in taking calls.

Puma Crew and Scottish NHS Trial The Use Of Epishuttles 020420 MOD.jpg
In Scotland, a Puma Crew and members of the NHS trialled the loading of the EpiShuttle on a helicopter (Picture: MOD).

Sixty members of the British Army have been assigned to support the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust's frontline response to the virus, assisting paramedics with non-clinical tasks.

Support to the Scottish Ambulance Service is coming from RAF Puma helicopters at Kinloss.

The Puma crews worked with the Scottish Ambulance Service, the Emergency Medical Retrieval Service and NHS Scotland to trial the loading of the EpiShuttle, a system that will allow patients to be transported safely to emergency care facilities, onto a Puma helicopter.

A further 37 military personnel have been deployed to assist the East England Ambulance Service (EEAS) in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

All those deployed to assist the EEAS already volunteer as emergency responders and have completed training with the East England Ambulance Service.

Their roles will include driving vehicles, assisting dispatchers in Emergency Operations Rooms and with logistics or administration in the EEAS Resource Centre.

Cover image: A member of Seven Brigade loads a stretcher onto a Welsh Ambulance Service vehicle ready for use (Picture: MOD).

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