Military called in to support East Midlands Ambulance Service
Due to the number of staff currently isolating due to Covid-19, sixty members of military personnel are expected to join the effort in the coming weeks.
The update comes as hospital trusts across England declare critical incidents amid staff shortages and increased patient demand.
Ben Holdaway, Director of Operations at East Midlands Ambulance Service, said: “As an ambulance service, the most important thing for us is that we are able to provide emergency care to our patients when they need it.
“Transmission rates of COVID-19 in the community have continued to rise, and we have seen an increased number of EMAS staff needing to self-isolate or be absent due to testing positive for COVID-19.
“Combined with the intense pressure the whole NHS system is under, and the high demand on our service, some of our less urgent and non-emergency patients are waiting longer for an ambulance than they should rightfully expect.
“Our new military colleagues will bolster the Urgent Care part of our service which attends non-emergency patients.
“This in turn will ensure our emergency ambulance crews can focus on attending the life-threatening and serious emergencies in our communities.
“While the introduction of military support has always been part of NHS plans in case of increased pressure, we are taking this proactive step now to safeguard the provision of a safe 999 service for our patients in the coming weeks.
“We look forward to making our new military colleagues feel welcome at EMAS.”
The military personnel will be support the service by driving vehicles, transporting patients and equipment, and helping paramedics carrying out basic life support, including using defibrillators.
They will not be driving on blue lights and will wear their military uniform while supporting EMAS.
It is hoped that the additional support will reduce the pressure on ambulance staff, allowing them to focus on high-priority calls.