Covid-19: Army deployed in London hospitals to meet staff shortages

Military service personnel will help in the hospitals for three weeks



Reuters
Reuters

By Prasun Sonwalkar

Published: Fri 7 Jan 2022, 3:04 PM

The Boris Johnson government has deployed 200 members of the armed forces to meet acute staff shortages in London hospitals, where many doctors, nurses and other staff members have been infected and are isolating at home.

Officials said on Friday that the service personnel will help in the hospitals for three weeks. Forty teams of five personnel, each comprising one medic and four general duties personnel, are being distributed to ensure support is targeted towards the areas where the need is greatest.

Military medics will assist hospital staff with patient care, while general duty personnel will support with tasks such as maintaining stocks, checking in patients on arrival and conducting basic checks.

The latest support of the armed forces is in addition to more than 1,000 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 Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. More than 1,000 servicemen and women have been made available to support the vaccine booster programme, including 730 in England, 221 in Scotland and 98 in Wales.

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," he added.

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.

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The forces are also providing 32 military co-responders to provide additional capacity to the South Central Ambulance Service. Those deployed will work alongside SCAS paramedics and are expected to be on task until the end of March.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Our brilliant armed forces have supported the country throughout the pandemic, bolstering the teams at testing sites, vaccination centres and hospitals. Once again, they are stepping up to assist National Health Service workers who are working round the clock across the capital, helping the health service through this difficult winter period where the need is greatest."


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