A team of 30 military personnel is supporting United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust – due to staffing shortages caused by COVID-19.
They will be based throughout Lincoln and Boston Pilgrim hospitals for the next few weeks. 20 have military healthcare training and experience and have joined the Trust’s non-registered colleagues in helping with patient care in the emergency departments and other wards and areas. A further 10 general duty officers are also providing support in non-clinical roles.
Last week the Trust stood down from its major and critical incidents, after a water supply issue at Grantham and District Hospital was resolved and some improvement was seen in the Trust’s staffing position.
ULHT Chief Executive, Andrew Morgan, said: “The NHS has a well-established relationship with the military and they have provided amazing support throughout the pandemic in hospitals across the country, supporting ambulance Trusts and also assisting with the vaccination programme.
“As a Trust we are extremely grateful to receive their support and look forward to working alongside them in providing the best care for our patients over the next few weeks.
“Those patients needing specialist and medical care will still be seen by our own doctors and nurses. The military personnel will be able to assist with some elements of patient care and observations in our emergency departments, wards and other areas.”
The Trust is not alone in receiving this level of support, which is being provided through the Military Aid to the Civil Authorities (MACA) process.
Armed Force Minister, James Heappey, said: “This deployment is the latest example of how our dedicated Armed Forces have continuously stepped to support the UK’s response to this pandemic.
“20 medics and 10 general duty personnel will be working hand-in-hand with the fantastic staff of the NHS, just as thousands of other military personnel have done over the last two years, to help protect the nation from COVID-19.”
The military personnel have already completed their inductions at the Trust and have started working at the two hospitals.
Mr Morgan added: “Like many NHS services across the country, our staff are working incredibly hard in the face of significant ongoing pressures from high levels of staff illness, high demand for urgent and emergency care, and continuing to treat COVID-positive patients.
“We have been working with our partners locally to continue to provide the best possible care for those who need it, and as the next stage in those plans we have arranged temporary assistance from members of the Armed Forces as part of their ongoing support to the NHS pandemic response.
“It remains the case that the best support our staff can receive is from the local community, so I would urge people to help us help you by getting any doses of the COVID vaccine you are still eligible for, taking sensible precautions to limit the spread of the virus, and thinking about the most appropriate place to access advice and treatment for your needs. This may be via your local pharmacy, NHS 111 over the telephone or online, your GP, out of hours services, or at an urgent treatment centre.”