Dismissed! Northamptonshire hospitals thank Army volunteers for help during height of pandemic

A total of 36 soldiers from 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment and 21 Signal Regiment worked across Northampton and Kettering General

Monday, 8th March 2021, 5:20 pm
503 Army 2nd Lieut Ryan Francis and Pvte George Balkartat 1st Battalion Yorkshire Regiment.

The Army has been thanked by Kettering and Northampton General Hospitals for supporting them during the height of Covid-19 pandemic.

From January 27 until March 5 a total of 36 soldiers from 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment and 21 Signal Regiment worked across the two Trusts.

The troops were on hand for non-medical tasks including helping move patients and equipment between wards and departments, serving food and talking with patients.

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503 2nd lieut Ryan Francis HCA Gerri Arthurs HCA Martene Johnson Staff n Janine Simpson Ward Sister Rebecca Austin.

Senior sister Sarina Vincitore of KGH said: "They have been amazing. A breath of fresh air and a real morale boost for us. They are enthusiastic, helpful, polite, respectful and their support has been enormously appreciated by both patients and staff.”

The soldiers were sent to the hospitals during what became the second and most intense wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the weeks they spent there, more than 19,000 positive tests were recorded in Northamptonshire.

At the height of the wave in mid January, over 400 beds were occupied across both trusts by Covid-positive patients.

Second Lieutenant Ryan Francis, from 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, worked in a front-line Covid ward, Clifford Ward, at KGH.

Ryan, 23, said: “I have been extremely impressed by the work that hospital staff are doing. They work long hours in protective equipment, support a lot of very ill patients and deal with the impact of bereavement.

“We have been doing our bit to help them and take a bit of pressure from their shoulders, especially during the busiest times.

"Chatting with the patients has been amazing. We seem to have met a lot of older patients, and hospital staff, who have been ex-forces. They have often done a lot more service than we have. It has been great for them and for us.”

NGH’s Hospital Chief Executive, Debbie Needham, said: “The Army team have been a delight to work with. They are friendly, disciplined, responsible, hard-working and have made a lot of friends in a very short time.

“They have been a real tonic giving a boost to both staff and our patients during this national emergency. I know our teams all want to thank them for everything they have done.”