The military personnel will work alongside urgent care ambulance crews who attend non-emergency patients requiring inter-facility transfers, or patients who have already been seen by a healthcare professional such as a GP who has decided they need to go to hospital.
The aim is to reduce delays for non-emergency patients, enabling emergency crews to focus on responding to emergency calls, and to relieve some pressure in the wider NHS system.
Ben Holdaway, EMAS director of operations, said: “As an ambulance service, the most important thing for us is we are able to provide emergency care to our patients when they need it.
“Transmission rates of Covid-19 in the community have continued to rise and we have seen an increased number of EMAS staff needing to self-isolate or be absent due to testing positive for Covid-19.
“Combined with the intense pressure the whole NHS system is under, and the high demand on our service, some of our less urgent and non-emergency patients are waiting longer for an ambulance than they should rightfully expect.
“Our new military colleagues will bolster the urgent care part of our service which attends non-emergency patients.
“This in turn will ensure our emergency ambulance crews can focus on attending the life-threatening and serious emergencies in our communities.
“While the introduction of military support has always been part of NHS plans in case of increased pressure, we are taking this proactive step now to safeguard the provision of a safe 999 service for our patients in the coming weeks.
“We look forward to making our new military colleagues feel welcome at EMAS.”
The military members will not be driving on blue lights and will wear their military uniforms while supporting EMAS.
They are due to begin training this week and will complete a three-day EMAS familiarisation training course led by EMAS’ clinical education team.
They will be available to support urgent care crews 16 hours a day, seven days a week.