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Army called in to help Welsh Ambulance Service until end of November

07 Oct 2021 2 minutes Read
Picture by neiljohnuk (CC BY 2.0)

The army will be deployed to support the Welsh Ambulance Service until the end of November.

However, they will be working as non-emergency drivers, as they are not trained to use the sirens or drive at speed.

The Welsh Ambulance Service Trust submitted a request for additional support under the Military Aid to the Civil Authorities (MACA) arrangement.

110 armed forces personnel will now deploy to support the Welsh Ambulance Service from 14th October,

A report two weeks ago found that the ambulance service in Wales is “gridlocked” while suffering the strain of the highest number of life-threatening calls

The army aim to help to ease pressures resulting from the pandemic and ensure the ambulance trust can continue to provide their essential service, including attending life-threatening calls quickly, they said.

Chief Executive of the Welsh Ambulance Service Jason Killens said: “We’re proud and grateful to be working alongside the military once again, who did a superb job of assisting us on two occasions previously last year.

“The pandemic has presented a challenge like no other, but the last couple of months, in particular, have meant significant and sustained pressures on our ambulance service, including high levels of demand and an increase in Covid-19 related activity.

“Winter is our busiest time, and having military colleagues on board once more will bolster our capacity and put us in the best possible position to provide a safe service to the people of Wales.”

‘Important’

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said he was “proud of the tireless work” military personnel had done during the pandemic.

“They continue to provide important support, working alongside our dedicated emergency services across the UK,” he said.

“The deployment of 110 personnel to support the ambulance service will ensure WAST can continue to deliver their life-saving services.”

This is the third deployment of the Armed Forces to support WAST since the pandemic began in March 2020. 68 personnel deployed in April 2020 and 120 personnel augmented dedicated Welsh Ambulance Service staff in December 2020, including Defence medics.

Defence also supported the vaccine rollout in Wales earlier this year and previously deployed during the pandemic to provide specialist planning advice, deliver PPE and support the community testing programme in Merthyr Tydfil.

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