Operation RESCRIPT ~ 60 British Army personnel from the COVID Support Force have been mobilised to support the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust or WAST.
The Army in Wales is training 60 soldiers to prepare to support the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust (WAST) in the battle against COVID-19. The soldiers will be taken through a two-day training package delivered by WAST.
Commander Joint Military Command Wales Brigadier Andrew Dawes CBE, said: “It is a huge privilege to see first hand the incredible efforts being made by NHS Wales and all those involved in the fight against COVID19, not least the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust. We are humbled to be in a position to provide support to our partners and public service colleagues across Wales at this critical time.”
This is a fully coordinated response in line with Military Aid to the Civil Authorities (MACA) requests, authorised through the Standing Joint Command headquarters in Aldershot. JMC Wales also has planners already located in the Welsh Government’s Emergency Co-ordination Centre and in Wales’ four regional Local Resilience Fora. Military ambulance drivers will not drive ambulances under blue-lights, but are likely to be required to respond to emergencies, to assist the paramedics with non-clinical tasks and drive the ambulance when needed to hospital whilst the paramedic delivers clinical care to the patient.
[Source UK MoD News Imagery – no accompanying Press Release had been issued at time of posting]
~ Update ~
MoD Press Release, 08 April 2020: The role of armed forces personnel in the ongoing COVID-19 response across Wales has been praised by Welsh Secretary Simon Hart. This week, the Army in Wales began training with the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust (WAST) in Sennybridge, Mid Wales to assist paramedics.
Welsh Secretary Simon Hart said: “The UK’s armed forces are supporting the critical work of our NHS and social care workers and I would like to extend my gratitude towards all those working to tackle the coronavirus in Wales.
“The military is providing the Welsh Government, our ambulance services and the NHS with additional support and expertise. Our armed forces’ personnel are demonstrating selfless commitment and are doing a great job at this incredibly difficult time. I am humbled by their efforts and eternally thankful for their support.”
Defence Minister James Heappey said: “We’re proud to be supporting our emergency services, frontline NHS staff and councils across Wales in the fight against COVID-19.
“Whether it be supporting the Welsh Ambulance Service or assisting in the build of new hospital capacity, soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen from across the UK are ready to assist with whatever is required of us in Wales.”
Armed forces’ support to tackle COVID-19 in Wales includes:
- The Army in Wales is training 60 soldiers to prepare to support the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust (WAST) in the battle against COVID-19. Military ambulance drivers will be required to respond to emergencies, assist the paramedics with non-clinical tasks and drive ambulances when required.
- Military planning and liaison personnel are deployed across Wales, including at the Welsh Government’s Emergency Coordination Centre Wales in Cardiff, the four Local Resilience Fora and the seven Local Health Boards
- Military Assessment Teams have supported the NHS in Wales’ development of field hospitals, including at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
- Armed forces personnel drawn from each of the three services have been training to drive oxygen tankers at the Air Products facility in Port Talbot in order to support the NHS.
- Up to 10,000 personnel have been placed at a higher readiness across the UK, so they are able to assist with supporting public services. This is on top of the 10,000 already held at higher readiness.
- Measures have been taken to enable the call out of Reservists, should they be required to join the response effort.