Royal Navy medical staff are working alongside the NHS in key hospitals across the UK and have recently increased their support in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
According to the Royal Navy in a news release, military doctors, nurses, and medical support staff are well established in NHS hospitals, working in a wide range of areas.
“At this difficult time, the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth is one location where Naval personnel can be found working round the clock. As part of UK Defence Medical Services, the Joint Hospital Group (South) (JHG(S)) is based at Queen Alexandra Hospital and has a total of 215 military staff, 79 of whom are serving in the Royal Navy.
Naval personnel usually work in the NHS to maintain clinical skills ready for operations and military tasking, but the virus outbreak has brought the frontline home to UK hospitals which means staff find themselves fighting the pandemic side-by-side with their civilian counterparts. Alongside their important daily work in established hospitals, Naval medical staff are unique in that they are also held at high readiness to move and support other military tasking in the UK or overseas as part of the Government’s COVID-19 response.”
This is part of Operation Rescript. Operation Rescript is a military operation to assist the UK’s efforts to tackle the 2020 coronavirus pandemic in the United Kingdom.
In March, the Ministry of Defence announced the formation of the COVID Support Force as part of its measures to help tackle the Coronavirus outbreak. The support force comprised 20,000 military personnel tasked with supporting public services, which included 150 military personnel being trained to drive oxygen tankers to support the National Health Service.
Scientists from Defence Science and Technology Laboratory also began supporting Public Health England. Command and control of the COVID Support Force falls under Standing Joint Command, headed by Major General Charles Stickland.
The COVID Support Force includes 10 regional commands which are overseen from Aldershot.
In April, an additional 3,000 reservist personnel joined the COVID Support Force.