AN ambulance trust has paid tribute to the armed forces after members of the military and reservists joined forces to help paramedics working to protect the public during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Each year East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust celebrates Armed Forces Week to honour those who serve in uniform, both currently and veterans.

But this year has a special significance due to the collaboration in treating patients during the pandemic.

Among those who helped the ambulance trust were 26 military staff who were all qualified paramedics and emergency clinicians from Merville Barracks in Colchester who we trained to operate as clinicians in civilian contexts.

The trust also supported and trained 30 personnel from the Queens Dragoon Guards to undertake critical care transfers of Covid-19-positive patients between hospitals.

Aaron Hill, senior paramedic and Education and Training Officer EEAST, also crossed the line the other way when he signed up to be an Army Reservist.

He said: “Joining the British Army Reserves in 2017 has been one of the most rewarding decisions I’ve made within my career, and has provided me with a wealth of experience impossible to gain within the NHS alone.

“In June 2017, I attested at Queen Elizabeth Barracks, York and joined B Squadron, 335 Medical Evacuation Regiment which fits within the Royal Army Medical Corps.

“I have attended a number of outstanding clinical training courses, such as the Battlefield Advanced Trauma Life Support (BATLS) course, European Paediatric Advanced Life Support (EPALS) and the Military Pre-Hospital Emergency Care (MPHEC) course.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, I was handed the challenge of creating and delivering a bespoke induction program for British Army and Royal Air Force medics from 16 Medical Regiment, Colchester to join the trust as part of our increasing response.

“Having an understanding of existing scope of practise and expectations of experience and skills was a huge benefit for me as a reservist, and meant the course could be specifically developed to provide the right level of training to our military counterparts.

“ The two courses delivered at Merville Barracks were a huge success and provided 26 paramedics and emergency medical technicians to our workforce.”

“Being an Army Reservist is absolutely something to be proud of. It will offer you experiences and skills that you will never gain anywhere else, and the opportunities for travel, deployment and training are endless.”

Chief Executive Officer Dorothy Hosein said: “Armed Forces Week is always important, but this year it feels more personal as serving member of the military and reservists have been working alongside us, as drivers, clinicians and in support roles.

“We are grateful for their help and proud to serve with them as we faced the unprecedented challenges of Covid-19.”