THE Welsh Ambulance Service has re-enlisted the support of the military as it contends with a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
More than 90 soldiers will once again assist the Trust’s Covid-19 effort by driving ambulance vehicles from tomorrow (Wednesday).
Among them will be soldiers from 9 Regiment Royal Logistics Corps.
On Sunday, Welsh Ambulance Service Chief Executive Jason Killens visited their headquarters in Chippenham, where soldiers were undergoing training ahead of deployment.
Jason said: “The extreme pressure on our ambulance service in the last couple of weeks has been well documented, and it’s why we’ve taken the decision to re-enlist the military, who did a superb job of assisting us earlier in the year.
“Winter is our busiest period, and with the second wave of a global pandemic also to contend with, this is about bolstering our capacity as far we can and putting us in the best possible position to provide a safe service to the people of Wales.
“We’re proud and grateful once again to be working alongside the military in the collective effort against Covid-19, and I know colleagues will extend the same warm welcome as they did the first time around.”
More than 20,000 military personnel have been supporting public services across the UK during the pandemic as part of a ‘COVID Support Force’.
Their support of the Welsh Ambulance Service forms part of the Military Aid to the Civil Authorities (MACA) arrangement.
Welsh Secretary Simon Hart said: “With coronavirus case rates at high levels in many areas of Wales, it’s welcome and reassuring that our Armed Forces will help our ambulance and NHS services during what is set to be a very busy winter period.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, the military has stepped up to support health services across Wales with the distribution of PPE, construction of a temporary hospital in Cardiff, assisting community testing in the South Wales Valleys and will help roll out community vaccine in the coming months.
“The use of the Armed Forces to help with this vital work demonstrates the UK Government’s commitment to meet the needs of the whole of the United Kingdom as we continue to tackle the pandemic.”
Minister of the Armed Forces, James Heappey, added: “The whole of the United Kingdom must pull together if we are to overcome coronavirus and get back to the way of life we know and value.
“Our Armed Forces will do this again in Wales by joining the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust for the second time this year.
“Ninety four military personnel, including medics and drivers, will support the ambulance service as they care for the most vulnerable during these challenging times.”