The first 60 military reinforcements have begun their training to help East Midlands Ambulance Service cope with phenomenal demand and added pressures of staff shortages brought on by COVID-19 cases.
Armed forces were drafted in to work alongside the EMAS urgent care ambulance crews that attend non-emergency patients, in a bid to relieve pressure on the wider NHS system.
This decision was made after a number of staff members at the ambulance service were self-isolating with COVID-19, leaving feet on the ground to help with 999 calls threadbare.
The 60 military personnel have now begun their training with the EMAS clinical education team, where they have been working on preparing to help patients who require inter-facility transfers, or those seen by a healthcare professional that require hospital visits.
The forces colleagues will not drive on blue lights and will wear their own uniform, but will be carrying out tasks such as safe moving and handling of patients and equipment, as well as supporting the use of defibrillation.
A spokesperson for EMAS said: “It’s been a pleasure to welcome the first of 60 military personnel to EMAS who will be supporting us with responding to non-emergency patients in the coming weeks.
“Our new colleagues have already started their three-day familiarisation training with our clinical education teams – including safe moving and handling of adult patients and essential equipment, and learning the layout of our ambulances.”
Military staff have also been called in at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust to help deal with staffing pressures in the county’s health sector, with 30 armed forces personnel assisting hospitals across Lincolnshire through January.
During his interview with The Lincolnite, Lincoln MP Karl McCartney said it was “right and good” that military forces were brought in to help healthcare staff during their “time of need”.
He said: “Obviously we’ve got a proud link with our military forces here in this county.
“So it’s right and good that if they’re able to help and assist, and they can do well, then I’m very pleased that the senior managers within the NHS and Lincolnshire have taken that option, if need be to help them out in a time of need.
“It has been a very difficult time for all staff across the two years, especially within the NHS who’ve been on the frontline; whether it’s in the COVID wards to the ICU units.”