Army deploys 200 military personnel to London hospitals to plug gaps from Covid absences

Two hundred military personnel have been deployed to hospitals across London to help the NHS cope with crippling staff shortages as Covid cases remain high.

Of these, 40 are military medics who will help with patient care amid high rates of absences among doctors and nurses, while 160 general duty personnel will help with other roles across the hospitals.

The military personnel will be stationed there for the next three weeks, the Ministry of Defence said.

South Central Ambulance Service is also being supported by 32 military co-responders.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said that the use of military troops showed that the Government could no longer deny there was a “staffing crisis” in the NHS.

Patricia Marquis, the RCN’s director for England, said: “The prime minister and others can no longer be dismissive of questions about the ability of NHS staff to deliver safe care.”

“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?”

The military have worked with the health service on a number of occasions throughout the pandemic.

More on NHS

There are currently around 1,800 armed forces personnel supporting the NHS’s Covid-19 response, including both regulars and reservists from the Army, Navy and RAF.

Military paramedics have been deployed to work with ambulance services, with 313 supporting the Welsh Ambulance Service and 96 the Scottish.

There are also 1,000 military personnel working on the vaccination programme.

This story is being updated.

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