Armed forces deployed to support Welsh Ambulance Service through autumn months

110 defence personnel will be working as non-emergency drivers to support the ambulance trust in Wales Credit: PA

Armed forces personnel will be deployed to support the Welsh Ambulance Service this autumn.

110 defence personnel will be working as non-emergency drivers from October 14 until the end of November.

The initiative will help to ease pressures on the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust (WAST) which have continued to build throughout the pandemic.

Defence workers will not operate under blue light conditions and instead cover low priority calls to help free up WAST resources.

It means the ambulance trust can focus on attending life-threatening calls quickly, such as cardiac arrests.

The support from the UK Government is being provided through a Military Aid to the Civil Authorities (MACA) request.

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.

The armed forces have previously helped with the vaccine rollout, delivering PPE and supporting local testing programmes Credit: PA

He added, "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."

This will be the third deployment of the armed forces to support the ambulance service since the pandemic began in March 2020.

They have also helped with the vaccine rollout, delivering PPE and supporting the community testing programme in Merthyr Tydfil.

Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, said, "I am proud of the tireless work of all our service personnel during this pandemic. They continue to provide important support, working alongside our dedicated emergency services across the UK.

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

Secretary of State for Wales, Simon Hart, praised the armed forces for their support when pressures are high.

"Once again the UK’s armed forces are playing a key role in the fight against Covid-19 by supporting the critical work of the Welsh Ambulance Service. I am hugely grateful for their commitment and expertise.

"I would like to extend my gratitude to all those who have worked incredibly hard to ensure our public services deliver for the people of Wales throughout the pandemic."