Army sends in 120 soldiers to help North West Ambulance during crisis period

North West Ambulance. Credit: Press Association

Military personnel are to join forces with the North West Ambulance Service to help its response to some non-emergency patients.

Around 120 soldiers will training in driving ambulances, manual handling, kit and basic life support.

Each member of the military will pair up with an NWAS employee and attend minor cases, hospital transfers and discharges only.

It's hoped they will be on the road and assisting non-urgent cases before the end of this month.

North West Ambulance said the soldiers will free-up its staff to deal with emergency and life-threatening cases.

The Service said the partnership with the military means it can have more of its vehicles on the road, "getting people the treatment they need sooner".

"This in turn, frees up more resources to attend urgent, life-threatening cases," Ged Blezard said.

It comes as 999 calls continue to rise, with numbers up to 20% higher than usual, and staff absence grows - with claims around 1,000 members of the 6,000 strong workforce were off sick or self-isolating at the beginning of January.

The service is currently operating at the highest level - level four - meaning it is under extreme pressure.