Army medics and personnel have been helping out the hospital trust covering Burton as staff treated a record number of patients with coronavirus.

They were drafted in to assist the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust as the staff battled a busy start to the year.

The teams worked in different clinical areas at the Royal Derby Hospital, which takes patients from South Derbyshire, over the last month at a time when it was caring for record numbers of patients with Covid-19.

In addition to providing nine combat medical technicians, 15 general duties Army staff with no medical experience also received training and were deployed to support staff in the hospital from the first weeks of January, as part of a regional deployment to support different NHS Trusts in the area.

While the technicians were helping staff to complete some clinical tasks in the emergency areas across the hospital, the general duties personnel also helped out in the intensive care unit and other wards by 'proning' covid patients, which is the process of turning them and is vital in the treatment on covid sufferers in induced comas. They also helped hospital porters and patients contact their relatives, among other tasks.

Staff Sergeant Jason Wadsworth, from 35 Squadron, 5 Medical Regiment, Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire, had been helping in the emergency department teams at the Royal Derby Hospital since January 18, and has 15 years of experience.

He said: "The last month or so has been very interesting, to say the least.

"There have been patients we've supported that we wouldn't usually encounter in our normal working lives, which has been challenging but the staff here have been great and have guided us through everything we've needed.

"It's a good feeling to have been part of the efforts to combat Covid-19 and nice to have felt useful, and like we've made a difference.

"I feel that this is one of the things that the British Army is good at. We fulfil a lot of different roles, whether that is flood defence, or driving fire engines, we're always ready to step up, when needed.

"On behalf of us all, I'd like to say a massive thank you to all of the staff. They've all been absolutely incredible with us and supported us 100 per cent."

The Armed Forces personnel have been adapting their roles to provide support to a wide range of services when needed, while working shifts at all times of the day and night, as well as on weekends.

The majority of the team completed a de-brief last week and will now return to their normal posts but not before they were all presented with certificates and Amazon vouchers from the trust, as a small thank you for their support.

Phil Bolton, director of nursing at the trust, said: "We really appreciate the support of our Army colleagues during what has undoubtedly been an extraordinarily difficult period for us all.

"I have been quite overwhelmed with the ease in which they have managed to adapt into our teams for the betterment of our patients.

"They have all been so hard working, helpful and approachable and I don't know whether they realise just how much our staff have appreciated their assistance.

"Some of them probably never thought that they'd ever get involved in anything like this and find themselves working in a hospital but we're eternally grateful for all the support that they've given us.

"They have made such a difference and have certainly provided a massive boost to our colleagues when they've needed it most."

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