The short-term partnership is a welcome boost to those NHS staff who have been on the frontline of battling the virus for almost a year now and will see the soldiers undertaking a range of supportive tasks to help staff and patients until the end of the month. For example, providing assistance at the hospital entrance (issuing masks and hand sanitiser), swabbing for COVID-19 tests, undertaking basic blood pressure checks, and also supporting clinical staff on wards with COVID-positive patients (e.g. serving drinks, aiding menu choices and helping with the laundry).
Su Harvey, the operations manager at Lymington Hospital, explained: “We are delighted to welcome the soldiers from the Royal Engineers (22 Engineer Regiment, based in Tidworth near Andover) who are keen to start supporting us, having already had their vaccinations and infection prevention and control training. Their presence is already proving a real morale boost for patients, staff and the local community!”
One of the soldiers, Sapper Perry Bowden, added: “We are really pleased to be able to join the frontline in the fight against coronavirus, as we all share a huge respect for the work of the NHS. We’re very keen to get stuck in and demonstrate the solidarity Hampshire’s armed forces share with NHS staff and the local community!”