Military personnel drafted in to support local ambulance crews

Military servicemen and women are being drafted in to support the ambulance service which covers the Melton borough due to high demand and staff shortages caused by coronavirus.

By Nick Rennie
Tuesday, 11th January 2022, 4:48 pm
Updated Tuesday, 11th January 2022, 4:58 pm
Latest news EMN-221101-164256001
Latest news EMN-221101-164256001

East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) has announced today (Tuesday) that 60 people from the armed forces will support paramedics with responding to non-emergency patients in the coming weeks.

The initiative is aimed at reducing delays currently being experienced by non-emergency patients, to enable emergency crews to focus on responding to 999 calls and help relieve pressure on the wider NHS system.

Ben Holdaway, director of operations at EMAS, 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.

“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.”

Mr Holdaway added: “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 60 military personnel, who will not be driving on blue lights and will wear their military uniform while supporting EMAS, are due to begin training later this week and will complete a three-day EMAS familiarisation training course led by the clinical education team.

They will be available to support Urgent Care crews 16 hours a day, seven days a week.

The armed forces people will work alongside Urgent Care ambulance crews who attend non-emergency patients requiring inter-facility transfers or patients who have already been seen by a healthcare professional such as a GP who has decided that they need to go to hospital.

They will carry out support tasks such as driving vehicles, safely moving and handling adult patients and essential equipment, helping with Adult Basic Life support including the use of automated external defibrillation, and raising any safeguarding concerns as appropriate.