Coronavirus

COVID: Army Praised As 'Real Morale Boost' While Helping Hospital Staff

The soldiers have been helping NHS staff in Kettering and Northampton who have been dealing with the second wave of the pandemic.

Soldiers from the British Army have been thanked for their work, after supporting staff at Kettering and Northampton General Hospitals for over a month.

Some 36 soldiers from 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment and 21 Signal Regiment began working across the two trusts on 27 January and finished last week.

After infection control and induction training, the soldiers were able to help by moving patients and equipment, changing sheets, cleaning bed spaces and serving drinks and food.

Sarina Vincitore, a Senior Sister in A&E at Kettering General Hospital, said the soldiers were a "breath of fresh air and a real morale boost" at a time when NHS staff were under tremendous pressure due to the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

"They are enthusiastic, helpful, polite, respectful, and their support has been enormously appreciated by both patients and staff," she added.

The admiration went both ways, with the soldiers saying the dedication of the health workers was also impressive.

Test tubes with COVID-19 coronavirus labels on
The military has been assisting the UK's COVID efforts since the early stages of the pandemic (Picture: PA).

Second Lieutenant Ryan Francis, from 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, supported a frontline COVID ward in Kettering General Hospital.

He said he was "extremely impressed" by the work and determination of the staff there.

"They work long hours in protective equipment, support a lot of very ill patients, and deal with the impact of bereavement," said the 23 year-old.

"Chatting with the patients has been amazing. We seem to have met a lot of older patients, and hospital staff, who have been ex-forces.

"They have often done a lot more service than we have. It has been great for them and for us."

The UK Armed Forces have played a vital part in the country's response to COVID-19, taking on a number of tasks, including patient-facing roles in hospitals.

Northampton General Hospital's Chief Executive, Debbie Needham, joined the many hospital representatives singing the praises of the military personnel.

"They have been a real tonic, giving a boost to both staff and our patients during this national emergency," she said.

Cover image: Troops in front of Kettering General Hospital (Picture: NHS/Kettering General Hospital).