SOLDIERS are being drafted in to help paramedics in the region amid a rising tide of pressure. 

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS) requested the additional support in the face of continued operational pressures which have been heightened by Covid-19-related absence.

Forty military personnel will support YAS in assisting with things like transporting patients with less urgent needs. The Trust said this will help it to make more efficient use of its emergency resources.

The army will begin training with YAS from tomorrow and will be working with patients within two weeks.

They are expected to work with the Trust for “a number of weeks”.

Nick Smith, executive director of operations at YAS, said: “Like all other ambulance, health and community services across the country, we are experiencing operational pressures which are exacerbated by Covid-19-related absence.

“Our dedicated staff are doing their best to respond as quickly as possible to all 999 calls, but we acknowledge that some patients are having to wait longer for an ambulance response.

“As part of our resilience planning, we have always had the option of making a request to the military for help and we have now asked for that assistance.

“We will be able to use military personnel to work alongside our staff, enabling us to support patients and get people the treatment they need sooner.

"This, in turn, will free up our staff to attend to serious and life-threatening cases. Military staff will work alongside a YAS colleague and attend minor cases, hospital transfers and discharges only.”

He added: “They will receive YAS training in driving ambulances, manual handling, kit familiarisation and basic life support, similar to the standards of the Trust’s patient transport service staff who have also been supporting the emergency service throughout the pandemic.

“They will enable paramedics to accompany patients, whose condition is not deemed to be serious, in the back of vehicles while being driven to or from hospitals.

“I would like to thank all our hard-working staff and volunteers for their continuing efforts and requesting this additional support means that we can further support our staff and volunteers as they care for our patients during this challenging time.

“We would like to reassure our patients and the public that, in spite of the challenges currently faced, our emergency service remains fully operational and anyone who needs our assistance for life-threatening of serious emergencies should continue to call 999.”