A SOLDIER who has been deployed to the the county’s two main hospitals as part of a military team supporting NHS staff who are fighting coronavirus, marked his 18th birthday on his first day in the job.
Private Brandon Dean, from Hartlepool, is one of twelve soldiers belonging to the 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment who have been deployed to carry out general duties at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital and the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, both part of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.
The Armed Forces cannot deploy personnel in public-facing roles until they are aged 18 so this was Brandon’s first operational task for the Army.
In total, 370 soldiers have been deployed in support of NHS Midlands in 23 hospitals. The soldiers are assisting as either Combat Medical Technicians or, as in Private Dean’s case, carrying out general duties.
The general duties soldiers are carrying out cover a range of non-clinical tasks, such as moving equipment and cleaning, as directed by NHS staff in order to improve patient care.
Pte Dean was presented with a birthday cake and card from fellow soldiers during a break from duties on the ward at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital.
“It was a big surprise to get a cake and card from my unit on my first day of duties at the hospital,” he said.
“We are all just pleased to be doing our bit to help the NHS at this crucial time. Anything we can do to ease the pressures on nurses and doctors, who are working incredibly hard, makes this worthwhile.”
More than 5,500 military personnel are now deployed across the UK as part of the Armed Forces’ largest ever peacetime resilience operation, focused on testing, vaccines and clinical support for the NHS.
Hundreds of defence medics have deployed to NHS hospitals across the UK to work in intensive care units and other patient facing roles, providing vital care alongside NHS professionals.
The majority of the 800 defence medics nationwide supporting hospitals are trained as combat medical technicians. In their day job, these soldiers deploy on overseas operations and exercises as medics, work in defence medical centres and provide medical training to fellow Armed Forces’ personnel.
Brigadier AJ Smith, Commander Joint Military Command, West Midlands said: “We remain in support of NHS Midlands as we have been for the last ten months. Our military personnel are providing medical and broader support to the amazing NHS team as they continue to face this unprecedented challenge.
“In addition, we are helping to roll out the regional vaccine programme with six Vaccine Quick Reaction Forces, made up of military personnel, deployed across the Midlands.”