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Welsh Ambulance Service commends military’s contribution to Covid-19 effort

L-R: Lee Brooks, Director of Operations at the Welsh Ambulance Service, Lt Col Mark Shercliff, Commanding Officer 1 RIFLES, Jason Killens, Chief Executive at the Welsh Ambulance Service, Maj Chris Graham, Joint Military Command Wales and Senior Military Liaison Officer, and Capt Peter Wrigley of 1 RIFLES, WAST Liaison Officer.

THE Welsh Ambulance Service has extended thanks to the Armed Forces for its support through the Coronavirus pandemic.

More than 100 British Army soldiers have been assisting the Trust’s Covid-19 effort since April by driving and decontaminating ambulance vehicles as part of Operation Rescript.

Among them are soldiers from the 1st Battalion The Rifles, 3rd Battalion The Royal Welsh and 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment.

Yesterday the Trust presented commemorative plaques to 1st Battalion The Rifles at Chepstow’s Beachley Barracks as a thank you gesture.

Lee Brooks, Director of Operations, said: “We have a long-standing relationship with the military and were very fortunate to have enlisted their support through the pandemic.

“Having them on board put us in the best possible position during what has been probably the most challenging period in our history.

“Their presence has been well received by colleagues and patients alike, and we were thrilled to visit the Barracks and present them with a token of our appreciation.”

Chief Executive Jason Killens added: “We’re proud and grateful to have the military working alongside our staff in the collective effort against Covid-19.

“Their support has not only strengthened our existing relationships with the Armed Forces community but has opened up new opportunities for collaboration in future.

“We hope that their glimpse into the world of the ambulance service has been as rewarding an experience for them as it has been for us.”

More than 20,000 military personnel have been tasked with supporting public services across the UK during the pandemic as part of a ‘COVID Support Force’.

Their support of the Welsh Ambulance Service, under what is known as Military Aid to the Civil Authorities (MACA), is now drawing to a close.

Brigadier Andrew Dawes CBE has been the military commander for Wales during the Covid-19 response.

He said: “The Armed Forces in Wales are hugely proud to have supported the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust in the collective fight against Covid-19.

“It has proved a very rewarding experience for our soldiers, who have learnt a huge amount from supporting the paramedics on over 6,000 call-outs.

“We have built an excellent working relationship with NHS Wales and have been truly humbled by their selfless commitment and dedication during such a difficult time.

“To have played a small part in this has been a real privilege.”