Military personnel train as ambulance drivers to help deal with coronavirus pandemic

MEMBERS of the armed forces are training to drive ambulances across the region to deal with the increased volume of call-outs as the coronavirus pandemic takes hold.

Wednesday, 1st April 2020, 1:09 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd April 2020, 7:30 pm

A team of 80 personnel from the Royal Air Force, Army and Royal Navy are going to be working alongside the South Central Ambulance Service (Scas) on an intensive course to complete the training in just three days.

The course will focus on the skills needed to drive ambulances at high speeds to respond to emergency situations.

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Military personnel are being drafted in to increase the number of ambulance drivers able to respond to emergencies during the coronavirus pandemic. Photograph by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

The personnel already volunteer as co-responders with the ambulance service in their spare time and will now become full-time members of the team.

The service predicts at least 240 ambulances will be needed to handle the crisis - an increase of 60 vehicles when compared to normal peak times before the pandemic hit.

Mark Ainsworth, director of operations for Scas, said: ‘The military are coming in to support us with their co-responders. This will probably allow us to get 20 to 30 extra ambulances per day out and operational to help meet the demand as call outs increase over the coming weeks.’

Major Emma Allen, who normally runs the military responder team, said: ‘We have been fully trained by South Central Ambulance Service and we are there to act. There is no difference between the qualifications that we have and the skills that are being delivered by the service itself.’

As well as training to drive ambulances, the team are also learning how to answer emergency calls and the handling of patient transport.

The team is set to start work on April 6.

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