THE Welsh Ambulance Service is seeking to re-enlist military support to assist with its Covid-19 effort.
The Trust has submitted a request for additional support to Welsh Government under the Military Aid to the Civil Authorities (MACA) arrangement.
If approved, it will be the third time that soldiers have supported the service through the pandemic.
Chief Executive Jason Killens said: “Covid-19 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.
“The Trust is starting to return to some of the arrangements we had in place at the height of the pandemic to better manage the increase in Covid-19 related activity that we’re feeling the impact of once again.
“As part of this, we’re seeking to re-enlist the military, who did a superb job of assisting us on two occasions previously last year.
“Winter is our busiest time, and this will enable us to get a head start on what we foresee will be a tough period, especially when you couple Covid-19 demand with seasonal flu and our usual winter pressures.
“This is about bolstering our capacity as far we can and putting us in the best possible position to provide a safe service to the people of Wales.”
More than 200 British Army soldiers have already assisted the Trust’s Covid-19 effort by driving and decontaminating ambulance vehicles as part of Operation Rescript.
Among them were 90 soldiers from 9 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps, who were enlisted on Christmas Eve at the height of the second wave of the pandemic.
More broadly, more than 20,000 military personnel have been supporting public services across the UK during the pandemic as part of a ‘COVID Support Force’.
A spokesperson for Joint Military Command Wales said: “Defence remains ready to offer support to civil authorities in the UK and we will work with the Welsh Government and the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust to understand their requirements and offer assistance where appropriate.
“Since March 2020, Defence has supported more than 450 Military Aid to Civilian Authority (MACA) requests as part of the Covid Response Force.”