Published: 19:55, 27 January 2021
| Updated: 20:15, 27 January 2021
The South East Coast Ambulance Service, which covers Kent, has called on the Army for help.
Initially 36 members of the Royal Logistic Corps have been assigned to the service - they will drive the ambulance with a SECAmb clinician on board.
The soldiers, whose motto is We Sustain, have already received training and will work in the trust's Gatwick and Polegate operational areas, covering Crawley and Eastbourne respectively.
The move comes as the ambulance service comes under increasing pressure as a result of Covid-19, both with growing numbers of patients to transport and reduced staffing levels.
The trust requested the Ministry of Defence to provide support under the Military Aid to Civil Authorities principles.
The service has already been training firefighters across its region so that they too are ready to provide similar support when needed.
The military personnel will work on set shifts in line with patient demand.
The deployment will be scaled back or increased as pressure on the service demands.
SECAmb executive director of operations Joe Garcia said: “Over recent weeks we have been exploring ways in which we can bolster our frontline response to patients during these difficult times. "Following on from our continuing work with our fire services, we are very grateful for this additional support from the armed forces.
"They are ready to team up with a SECAmb clinician for a shift meaning that we are able to put more ambulances out on the road to respond to our patients.”
Colonel Ian Adkins, the Deputy Commander Joint Military Command, South East, said: “This initial group of military personnel will be embedded within South East Coast Ambulance Service. "We will provide additional personnel if required.”