Army drafted in to help support the NHS as staff isolating hits 120,000

The Ministry of Defence have provided 40 defence medics and 160 general duty personnel have been deployed to help the current staff shortages across the NHS for the next three weeks.

The 200 armed forces persons will be deployed in teams of five across London hospitals after more than 17 hospital trusts declared a critical incident, meaning they are struggling to provide priority services safely.  

Ben Wallace, Defence secretary, said: "The men and women of our armed forces are once again stepping up to support their dedicated colleagues in the NHS as they work hand-in-hand to protect the nation from Covid-19.

"They have shown their worth time and again throughout this pandemic, whether driving ambulances, administering vaccines or supporting patients in hospital, and they should be proud of their contribution to this truly national effort."

Royal College of Nursing's director for England, Patricia Marquis, said the decision to deploy the military to assist meant the Government could no longer deny there was a "staffing crisis" in the NHS.

"Once the military has been brought in, where does the Government turn next in a bid to 'ride out' the wave rather than deal with it?"

In addition to the 200 personnel sent to help in hospitals, there are 313 assisting the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust and 96 with the Scottish Ambulance Service.

There are also more than 1,000 service personnel helping to continue the roll out of the vaccination programme across the UK.

Nearly 180,000 lab-confirmed cases were recorded on Thursday 6th January, with daily hospital admissions around four times higher than the beginning of December.

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