ARMY personnel have been drafted in to help local ambulance staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

Around 80 military staff from the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force have been training in Newbury to help the ambulance service handle the outbreak.

They have been mobilised to support South Central Ambulance Service’s  (SCAS) frontline staff and will help to increase its capacity by 20 to 30 ambulances.

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All have experience and training in hands-on medical response.

SCAS director of operations Mark Ainsworth said: “This will help us when the expected peak increase in demand due to Covid-19 hits in around two to three weeks.”

The ambulance service held emergency driving training for military personnel at the Newbury Education Centre, on Bone Lane, yesterday.

They will also run additional training on personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect staff from contracting Covid-19. ALSO READ: Department for Work and Pensions plan to transform old Market Place post office

Military personnel from across the south central region already volunteer for SCAS as part of its military co-responder team.

They have now been temporarily released from their military duties to help the ambulance service full-time.

Once their training is complete, SCAS will be able to have an extra 20-30 ambulances available each day above the 180-200 vehicles that are normally in operation.