British military deploys 80 personnel to help ambulance services cope with surging demand as coronavirus crisis intensifies
- Army is called in to drive emergency vehicles to help ambulance service cope
- Soldiers will help out one of the main services covering Berkshire and Hampshire
- The extra staff would mean there would be up to 30 extra ambulances each day
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The Army is deploying 80 personnel to help an ambulance service cope with an expected increase in demand as the Covid-19 crisis intensifies.
The personnel have been assigned to drive emergency vehicles and take calls for South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) which covers Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Sussex and Surrey.
A SCAS spokesman said the military helpers are being given training in emergency first aid – similar to that given to volunteer responders – as well as training in driving emergency ambulances and using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
Soldiers are pictured outside the Excel Centre in London, which is being converted into an emergency hospital. The Army is deploying 80 personnel to help an ambulance service to cope with an expected increase in demand as the Covid-19 crisis intensifies
He said the extra staff would enable the service to have an extra 20-30 ambulances on the road each day, a 10% increase on its normal 180-200.
He said: ‘Training has commenced this week to give emergency driver training so they can drive ambulances, as well as PPE training so they know what level they have to wear to different incidents.
‘Once they are through that training, the majority will go on road as well as in the control room which is in demand.’
The personnel from all three services have been assigned to drive emergency vehicles as well as take calls for South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) which covers Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Sussex and Surrey
The spokesman said that it was currently seeing between 400 and 500 staff off work isolating from its 3,300-workforce but the military personnel were aimed at helping to cope with an expected increase in Covid-19 cases.
He said: ‘Our 999 service is coping well at the moment, people are using the service correctly and we are managing to keep on top of normal demand plus Covid-19 cases.
‘We are getting this support because we expect to see the Covid-19 demand increase.’
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Emergency service vehicles are pictured above in London’s Parliament Square. The extra staff would enable the service to have an extra 20-30 ambulances on the road each day
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