Coronavirus: Military Personnel Train To Drive Ambulances

The personnel are also learning how to take 999 calls to help bolster the emergency services amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Members of the Armed Forces are training to drive ambulances as part of a move to bolster the emergency services amid the coronavirus outbreak.

A force of 80 personnel, from all three services, are working alongside the South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) to complete the training in just three days.

The personnel already volunteer as co-responders with the ambulance service in their spare time and will now become full-time members of the team. 

It comes as SCAS expects to see a rise in the number of its ambulances being used in response to the pandemic.

The service predicts at least 240 ambulances will be needed to handle the crisis - an increase of 60 from "peak times" during other weeks.

Mark Ainsworth, Director of Operations for SCAS, said: "By the military coming in to support us with their co-responders...we are probably going to get 20 to 30 extra ambulance per day out operational to help the demand as that increases over the coming weeks."

The three-day course has also seen the military personnel training to drive the ambulances at high-speed.

Military Driving Ambulances During Covid-19 Outbreak
The team is expected to start working with the service on 6 April.

Corporal Kristian Roger said: "We normally drive Ford Mondeo's moving on to a bigger vehicle.

"So, it's getting used to the size, the capability and the weight of the new vehicle as well. So far, it is going quite well."

Military personnel are playing a leading role in helping the NHS with the coronavirus outbreak. 

Britsh Army soldiers have been delivering personal protective equipment to frontline NHS staff, while personnel are also working 15-hour shifts to help build a temporary hospital in east London. 

However, while the Armed Forces personnel are working with SCAS, they will not be wearing military uniform.

Major Emma Allen, who normally runs the military responder team, said: "Us wearing military uniform might distract from the care we are going to provide. 

"We have been fully trained by South Central Ambulance Service and we are there to act.

"There is no difference between the qualifications that we have and the skills that are being delivered by the service itself."

As well as training to drive ambulances, the team are also learning how to answer 999 calls and the handling of patient transport.

The team is set to start work with SCAS on 6 April.