Military called in to help East Midlands Ambulance Service amid Omicron surge

Military personnel have been brought in to help with vaccinations and Covid tests amongst other things during the pandemic Credit: PA

Troops are being deployed in the East Midlands to support the NHS amid growing staff shortages due to Covid.

At least 60 armed forces personnel are being made available to support East Midlands Ambulance Service across the region, which has been the epicentre of the Omicron outbreak with a huge upsurge in cases.

The decision has been made to meet the demand for the service and the number of colleagues who are unwell or self-isolating due to Covid.

The military personnel will work alongside our Urgent Care ambulance crews who attend non-emergency patients requiring 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 the hospital.

The aim of this step is to reduce delays currently being experienced by non-emergency patients, enable our emergency crews to focus on responding to emergency 999 calls, and help relieve some pressure in the wider NHS system.

Leicester, Leicestershire, UK 16th Jan 2021. UK. East Midlands Ambulances leave a Leicester hospital. Credit: PA Images

The military colleagues will not be driving on blue lights and will wear their military uniform while supporting EMAS.

The 60 military personnel are due to begin training later this week and will complete three-day EMAS familiarisation training course led by our Clinical Education team.

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

Ben Holdaway, Director of Operations at East Midlands Ambulance Service, 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."

He adds: "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.

"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."