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Armed forces personnel deployed to support ambulance staff in East of England

PUBLISHED: 07:51 13 April 2020 | UPDATED: 07:58 13 April 2020

Thirty-seven armed forces personnel have been deployed to the East of England Ambulance Service Trust during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Bill Smith

Thirty-seven armed forces personnel have been deployed to the East of England Ambulance Service Trust during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Bill Smith

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More than 30 members of the armed forces have been loaned to the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) to support their life-saving work during the coronavirus pandemic.

The military personnel will work with the trust, which covers six counties including Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, to assist with tasks such as driving and logistics.

A total of 37 people from all three strands of the armed forces will join EEAST, and will be among almost 200 to be joining five different trusts across the nation, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said.

The group all volunteer as emergency responders in their free time and have previously trained with the service.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Our armed forces always step forward at the appearance of threats to the country and its people. Across the United Kingdom, soldiers, sailors, airmen and women have got the backs of our NHS colleagues as they confront coronavirus.”

As well as the 37 who are to be deployed to EEAST, 80 service personnel will be sent to the South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust where they will drive emergency response vehicles, larger ambulances and work at the response centre which covers five counties around London.

In London, 21 medical personnel from the armed forces will form 10 critical care teams to transport patients who need to be moved between intensive care units.

In Wales, 60 soldiers finished their two-day ambulance training at the Sennybridge Training Camp near Brecon on April 7, ready to be deployed across Wales to assist paramedics with non-clinical tasks.

Members of the armed forces have helped with the response to the outbreak in a variety of ways.

Military personnel were involved in the planning and building of the first NHS Nightingale hospital at the ExCel exhibition centre in east London, as well as its equivalents across the country.

Armed forces personnel made up of 39 drivers and 63 driver’s mates have also been trained to fill and transport oxygen tankers to NHS facilities.

The MoD said there are hundreds of personnel delivering supplies of PPE for the NHS based at distribution centres across the country, amid reported shortages of the vital equipment.

To hear about about how people in the county are helping others, join our Norfolk and Waveney Here to Help group on Facebook.


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