Military Personnel Help Drive Ambulance 310320
Wales

'Extreme pressure' sees number of military drivers assisting Welsh Ambulance Service double

Military Personnel Help Drive Ambulance 310320

The number of military personnel supporting the Welsh Ambulance Service as drivers will be more than doubled in the new year in response to "extreme pressure".

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has said an additional 184 Armed Forces personnel will be made available to support the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust from 4 January.

Since October, 129 personnel have been supporting the service as drivers, and this latest announcement will take the total number to 313.

Welsh Ambulance Service chief executive Jason Killens said: "Having our Armed Forces colleagues will help us put more ambulances on duty so we can get to more patients, more quickly, while the extreme pressure continues."

It comes after 98 military personnel were made available to support the Welsh vaccine booster programme last week, which, in addition to drivers, brings the total number of personnel assisting with pandemic-related support in Wales to 411, according to the MOD.

Watch: Service members receiving ambulance training in Wales a few months ago.

Personnel were initially asked in October to re-deploy to support the Welsh Ambulance Service until November, but this has now been extended until the end of March, the MOD said.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, who recently praised the "incredible effort" of service families in a Christmas letter, said: "Over the festive period our servicemen and women will continue to provide vital support to our dedicated emergency services across the UK to help keep communities safe.

"The uplift of 184 extra personnel to support the ambulance service in Wales will ensure they can continue to provide lifesaving services to those most in need."

Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said the Armed Forces "continue to play a key role in the fight against COVID-19 in Wales".