Published by BBC NEWS - 12th January 2022

British Army medics

Image source, Matt Cardy

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is considering a new request for military support to help the health service deal with Covid-19 pressures.

It is understood that upwards of 100 military personnel have been requested by Health Minister Robin Swann.

The MoD has agreed to several appeals for assistance during the pandemic.

The Department of Health has confirmed it has requested assistance and is now awaiting a final decision by the MoD in London.

A spokesperson for the Health Department said: “Our health and social care system is under severe pressure.

“The current pressures involve a number of factors including Covid and wider winter pressures on services and Covid-related staff absences”.

“The minister and department are liaising very closely with trust and board colleagues in relation to the current situation”.

Robin Swann

Image source, PA Media

The BBC understands the number of personnel being requested is between 100 and 150 and would be a mix or medical and non-medical staff for deployment in Northern Ireland hospitals.

Military personnel have been used in earlier stages of Northern Ireland’s response to the health emergency.

In total, more than 500 armed forces personnel have been deployed in Northern Ireland during the pandemic.

One request involved 100 medics being sent to the mass vaccination centre at the SSE Arena in Belfast.

For two months at the beginning of 2021, armed forces personnel also worked alongside nurses at three local hospitals – the Ulster, Belfast City and Antrim Area.

Banner image reading 'more about coronavirus'





Tel: +44 (0) 141 946 6482

Address: Healthcare Skills Training International Ltd
West of Scotland Science Park
Block 7, Kelvin Campus
Glasgow G20 0SP