Army and navy personnel deployed to help busy hospital staff deal with impact of omicron

Army and navy personnel are being drafted in to help under-pressure hospital staff in the latest wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

By Gaynor Clarke
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 2:42 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th January 2022, 2:50 pm

Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership has announced that 120 members of the organisations will be deployed in hospitals across the city-region.

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They will be helping with all kinds of tasks, including general ward duties, cleaning to support maintenance of infection control measures, portering, mealtimes and drinks, administration, answering phone calls, maintaining supplies and acting as runners, for example collecting or taking samples to laboratories or drugs from the pharmacy.

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Army and navy personnel could be deployed to Wigan Infirmary

It is hoped the support will allow hospitals to stabilise current pressures on staffing amid coronavirus-related absences and help them to prepare for the return of elective appointments and procedures.

These were paused earlier in the month because the NHS was so busy with patients battling the omicron variant of coronavirus and staff absences.

Sarah Price, interim chief officer of Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “In recent weeks we’ve seen the pressures placed on health and care services by Covid-19 intensify, as we felt the impact of both the omicron variant and the increased demand that comes with the colder months. In the last few days, we have seen these pressures ease somewhat and are now set to resume the non-urgent surgery that it had been necessary to pause.

“Yet this is no time for complacency, and all our health and care services are still facing serious challenges, as we learn to live with Covid. We will always be there for those who need help, if you need support or treatment, please seek it – we want to see you.

“However, you can help us treat those who need it most by thinking about how you contact the NHS. If your need is urgent but isn’t an emergency please use NHS 111 first, either online or over the phone.

“And remember too that we can only reduce the spread of Covid-19 together, by making sure we’re all fully vaccinated, it will never be too late.”

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