RAF Honington personnel support the ambulance service
- Credit: SAC James Ledger
Military personnel based in west Suffolk are manning ambulances to support the NHS during the coronavirus crisis.
Following intensive clinical training, six members from RAF Honington’s co-responder team are now directly supporting the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST).
The personnel are being used to man a double-staffed ambulance (DSA) and ambulance car operating on a 12-hour shift rota and at just two days into the first week the Honington team have already attended a number of life-threatening emergency calls, as well as category 2 and 3 calls including an urgent patient transfer.
MORE: Number of Suffolk coronavirus cases rises by almost 100RAF Honington Station Commander, Group Captain Matt Radnall, said: “I’m delighted that personnel from RAF Honington are able to provide direct support to the NHS ambulance service in our region. I know they are well trained and very much looking forward to playing their part in this incredibly important role.”
Co-response team leader Warrant Officer Karl Phillips said: “The training provided by professional clinical trainers from EEAST was superb.
“These people worked exceptionally hard to ensure we received the very best theoretical and practical training available in order to properly prepare us for the task.
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“This was further enhanced by Covid-19-specific training, including PPE (personal protection equipment), hospital handover procedures and emergency transfer protocols.”
The station team now boasts a broad range of experience from RAF Police personnel that are blue-light rapid response vehicle (RRV) driver qualified, to physical trainers and military transport drivers.
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Two of the team members have also recently completed additional advanced driver training to qualify them to drive the DSA from RAF Honington.
As an experienced clinician and RRV/DSA response driver, WO Phillips has amassed thousands of hours of volunteering and responding to 999 calls.
He joined the RAF Honington co-response team in 2016 and has been the team leader since 2018.
He said: “I am extremely proud of my team and we, collectively, are equally as proud to operate alongside EEAST in assisting the NHS in the ongoing battle against the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Moreover, I am appreciative of my team’s line managers for supporting their respective troops whilst they undertake this role; however, most importantly, I would like to thank the families of our responders.
“Their support for their loved ones is deeply appreciated and is vital to the continued effort.”
MORE: Government pledges to offer coronavirus tests to essential workers and their householdsEx-RAF Regiment Flight Sergeant Marty Park is the most experienced and longest serving member of the team.
As a founder member, he has served continuously as a co-responder since 2002 and has volunteered many thousands of hours during this time.