200 personnel help address COVID-19 staff shortages
Armed Forces personnel are being deployed to support the NHS as it struggles to deliver care during the COVID-19 pandemic
Two hundred Armed Forces personnel have been made available to support the NHS in London amid staff shortages due to COVID-19.
The Ministry of Defence will provide 40 defence medics and 160 general duty personnel to support hospitals across the capital.
Service personnel began deploying this week and are expected to be on task for three weeks.
Forty teams of five personnel, each comprising one medic and four general duties personnel, will be distributed flexibly to ensure support is targeted towards the areas where the need is greatest.
Military medics will assist NHS staff with patient care and general duty personnel will support with tasks such as maintaining stocks, checking in patients on arrival, and conducting basic checks.
Once again our brilliant Armed Forces are stepping up to assist NHS workers who are working round the clock across the capital, helping the health service through this difficult winter period where the need is greatest
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.”
Defence is also providing 32 military co-responders to provide additional capacity to the South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS).
Those deployed will work alongside SCAS paramedics and are expected to be on task until the end of March.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “Our brilliant armed forces have supported the country throughout the pandemic.
“Once again, they are stepping up to assist NHS workers who are working round the clock across the capital, helping the health service through this difficult winter period where the need is greatest.”
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
Regional chief nurse for the NHS in London, Jane Clegg, added: “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.”
The support is being provided through the Military Aid to the Civil Authorities (MACA) process and is in addition to more than 1,000 Armed Forces personnel who are already deployed across the UK to support the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Military personnel are also assisting ambulance trusts in the devolved nations, with 313 available to support the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust (WAST), and 96 continuing to support the Scottish Ambulance Service.
And more than 1,000 servicemen and women have already been made available to support the vaccine booster programme, including 730 in England, 221 in Scotland, and 98 in Wales.
Since March 2020, the military has supported over 440 tasks as part of Operation Rescript – the Ministry of Defence’s support to the UK’s response to the pandemic.
Those supporting Operation Rescript tasks have deployed from across the three services – Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force – and are a mixture of regulars and reserve personnel.