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

Coronavirus: Soldiers Re-Enlisted To Support Welsh Ambulance Service

It is the second time this year the military has helped the Welsh Ambulance Service, with soldiers supporting ambulance teams in April.

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

The military has been re-enlisted to support the Welsh Ambulance Service as its staff battles the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. 

More than 90 soldiers, including troops from 9 Regiment Royal Logistics Corps, will provide help from Wednesday.

The Welsh Ambulance Service's chief executive, Jason Killens, said there has been "extreme pressure" on the service over the last couple of weeks.

"Winter is our busiest period, and with the second wave of a global pandemic also to contend with, this is about bolstering our capacity as far we can," he said.

Although unable to travel under blue lights to emergencies, the personnel will drive ambulances, lift and handle patients and assist paramedics with non-clinical tasks.

The military support will also allow ambulance teams to split up and spread resources across their fleet.

It is the second time this year the military has helped the Welsh Ambulance Service.

Soldiers previously answered the call to back up ambulance teams in April during the first wave of the virus as part of the Ministry of Defence’s 20,000-strong COVID Response Force, set up to put service personnel and reservists on standby to support public services in response to the pandemic.

Wales was put into lockdown on Sunday after its latest coronavirus case rate put an increased strain on the country’s health services and Welsh Secretary Simon Hart said the Armed Forces' help is "welcome and reassuring".

RAF personnel recently carried out COVID-19 testing in Merthyr Tydfil in Wales (Picture: MOD).

Mr Hart pointed out that the military will also help roll out the vaccine in the future, having previously helped distribute PPE, construct a temporary hospital in Cardiff and assist communities in the South Wales Valleys.

Armed Forces Minister James Heappey MP said the whole of the UK needs to "pull together if we are to overcome coronavirus and get back to the way of life we know and value".

He continued: "Our Armed Forces will do this again in Wales by joining the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust for the second time this year.

"Ninety-four military personnel, including medics and drivers, will support the ambulance service as they care for the most vulnerable during these challenging times."

Cover image: Soldier loads a stretcher onto a Welsh Ambulance Service ambulance in April (Picture: MOD).