32 military co-responders drafted in to South Central Ambulance Service to help it cope with Omicron surge
MORE than 30 armed services personnel have been drafted in to help South Central Ambulance Service as it struggles to cope with the Omicron Covid-19 surge.
The 32 military co-responders will provide SCAS, whose patch includes Hampshire, with additional capacity until the end of March.
They have been added to the 40 teams of five military personnel that have already been assigned to NHS hospitals in London, each one comprising a medic and a four general duties personnel.
Those medics will help with patient care while general duty personnel will maintain stocks, check-in patients and conduct basic checks.
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."
On Wednesday the NHS trust responsible for the Christchurch, Royal Bournemouth and Poole hospitals also declared a "critical incident", meaning they could not function as normal amid the Omicron Covid-19 surge.
The University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust withdrew the status on Thursday but only after some elective operations had been cancelled, and warned it might be declared again.
Regional chief nurse for the NHS in London, Jane Clegg, said NHS staff were "thankful" for the armed forces’ help.
The support has been provided through the Military Aid to the Civil Authorities process and is in addition to more than 1,000 armed forces personnel already deployed across the UK to support the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, including the vaccine booster programme.
Health secretary Sajid Javid added: "The most important thing you can do is get boosted now to protect your loved ones and communities from covid-19."
SCAS has been asked to comment.