Joint Military Command Wales (JMC), based at the British Army’s headquarters in Brecon, currently has 365 personnel from across the three Armed Services supporting the NHS in Wales with the fight against coronavirus.
Those personnel are involved in numerous tasks, from supporting the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust to increasing the capability and delivery of mass vaccination centres (MVCs) set up by the seven Welsh Health Boards.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart, recently visited Cwmbran Stadium to see how military personnel were supporting Aneurin Bevan University Health Board. Dr James Davies, MP for the Vale of Clywd, also visited a MVC in Llandudno, North Wales.
Brigadier Andrew Dawes CBE, Commander Joint Military Command Wales, said: “‘It continues to be a tremendous privilege to support NHS Wales in any way we can during this latest stage of the pandemic response. They have asked us to help crew Welsh ambulances and to deliver the vaccine right across Wales. We currently have several hundred service personnel involved in these tasks. Alongside this there specialist planners and liaison officers in Welsh Government, NHS Wales, the regional Health Boards, as well as supporting the regional resilience networks across the length and breadth of Wales.
“These deployments follow on from the recent involvement in a Whole Town Testing pilot in Merthyr Tydfil, which saw more than 170 personnel help set up testing centres across the valley in coordination with the local council. Last year soldiers under the command of JMC Wales also supported on the construction of field hospitals, oxygen tanker driver duties, ambulance decontamination and driver tasks, PPE unloading and distribution and the set up and manning of mobile testing units.”
We are working with a strong, positive and efficient team of nurses, support workers and military colleagues to achieve a good number of vaccinations Private Doyle
Corporal Sebastien Toghill, a Combat Medical Technician of 4 Armoured Medical Regiment, spoke with the Prime Minister in Cwmbran and said: “As well as the vaccinator role, we’ve been involved in the management of the medical stores in Newport, which takes some strain off the clinical controller as they would have ended up doing that as well as their normal role.
“We have also been involved in various quality improvement projects of different sizes, designing and trialling a new layout to improve the patient journey and increase the numbers coming through. The extra 10-15% output that can be achieved with a new layout and the same number of staff, will hopefully be adopted in other centres within the health board and add more value.”
Private Hugo Doyle, a Combat Medical Technician, also of 4 Armoured Medical Regiment, said: “I’ve been working in the Swansea MVCs for the past six weeks. We are having a positive impact and fulfilling the roles that were set out for us at the start of this MACA (Military Aid to the Civil Authority) tasking.
We are working with a strong, positive and efficient team of nurses, support workers and military colleagues to achieve a good number of vaccinations on each day that we are in work. We both feel that we are being fully utilised to the best of our abilities and enjoy being part of a team that is working to restore some semblance of normality to the British public.”