COVID: 2,000 personnel now deployed across UK

Two hundred service personnel have started deploying to support London hospitals hit by NHS staff shortages due to coronavirus.

Forty defence medics and 160 general duty Armed Forces members, split into 40 teams, are expected to assist the areas most in need for three weeks.

Each team will contain a medic to assist with patient care, while others will carry out support tasks, such as patient check-ins and stock maintenance, in order to ease the pressure of health workers.

It brings the total number of military personnel providing assistance across the UK to 2,000.

It has also been announced that a team of about 150 military personnel will join forces with North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) this month.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: "The men and women of our Armed Forces are once again stepping up to support their dedicated colleagues in the NHS, as they work hand-in-hand to protect the nation from COVID-19.

"They have shown their worth time and again throughout this pandemic, whether driving ambulances, administering vaccines or supporting patients in hospital and they should be proud of their contribution to this truly national effort."

There has until now been about 1,800 military personnel currently assisting 15 open Military Aid to the Civil Authorities requests under Operation Rescript – the codename for the military COVID response in the UK.

Meanwhile, about 7,000 personnel are on standby to respond to UK resilience tasks.

Regarding the latest show of support to hospitals in the English capital, Regional Chief Nurse for the NHS in London Jane Clegg said: "We are thankful for the support of the Armed Forces alongside thousands of NHS staff, as they respond to the increased demands brought by COVID – ensuring continued high-quality care and treatment for the many Londoners being looked after by the NHS this winter."