Armed forces volunteers training as ambulance drivers as demand on services grows

  • WATCH: Charlotte Briere-Edney reports

The armed forces are deploying 80 personnel to help South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) deal with increased demand during the Covid19 outbreak.

Members of all three services are now training as ambulance drivers and call handlers for SCAS, which covers Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Oxford and Surrey.

SCAS says the extra staff would mean a 10% increase in the number of ambulances a day.

  • WATCH: Trainee drivers explain why they volunteered

The military helpers, most of whom will have had some form of first aid training in the armed forces, are being fully trained as volunteer responsers.

That means extra first aid knowledge, ambulance driver training and using personal protective equipment (PPE).

SCAS says it's dealing well with extra demand so far, despite around a sixth of their workforce is self isolating.

They said they're getting extra drivers now, so that they're ready for an increase of demand related to Covid19.

  • WATCH: Bournemouth East MP and former defence minister Tobias Ellwood on the role the armed forces are likely to play

The armed forces are expected to play a huge role in the UK response to the crisis, with 20,000 regular personnel on standby.

Teams have already begun delivering PPE to hospital sites around the UK.

Meanwhile an Aviation Support Force, made of Chinook and Wildcat helicopters, has been stood up at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire.

Last night the Ministry of Defence announced that 3,000 reservists with "specialist skills" have been called up to join the Covid Support Force.

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