observation to Parliament: Defence Secretary Oral observation: Defence’s COVID-19 assist

With permission, i would like to replace the condo on Defence’s aid to the country wide Covid response.

As Honourable participants are aware, I committed to updating Parliament on our efforts and the MOD has been submitting weekly updates on the work to help our awesome NHS and colleagues from throughout government, as we battle again in opposition t this lousy virus.

We could not be on the frontline of this certain fight however we’re with them ‘within the trenches’ and, considering that ultimate yr, in expanding numbers. basically, Defence’s contribution to the Covid response now represents essentially the most tremendous home resilient operation in peacetime. And greater personnel are committed on UK resilience tasks these days than at any time since the pandemic.

That’s why it is vital to now make a statement to the condo detailing the breadth and complexity of these activities.

it’s worth for the reason that some data on what has been provided up to now:

when you consider that final January the Standing Joint Command has received some 485 armed forces counsel to Civilian Authority requests (MACA) in view that the birth of ultimate 12 months. Some 400 of which were regarding our domestic Covid response. it’s greater than 3 times the general annual number.

We at present have 56 ongoing initiatives, in aid of 13 different government departments, with 4,670 personnel dedicated and practically 10,000 more held at high readiness, attainable to abruptly respond to any increasing demand.

As is smartly typical, the united kingdom armed forces have helped build Nightingale hospitals around the nation and dispensed a must have PPE – providing greater than 6 million objects to hospitals and clocking-up ample miles to circumnavigate the realm 10 times.

Personnel from all three functions have backfilled Oxygen tanker drivers, Welsh ambulance drivers and NHS health center staff, such as these deployed to Essex Trusts this week. they have got helped care assistants shoulder the burden in care buildings and assisted trying out programmes in faculties and the broader community.

throughout Christmas, when the brand new variant of Covid disrupted the border crossings, the defense force stepped-up. whilst most of us had been settling down for our festive dinner and destroy, the militia have been working with the branch for Transport to look at various hauliers crossing the English Channel and to clear the backlog. approximately 40,000 checks had been carried out in that operation.

constantly our individuals have shown fleet of foot, switching projects as the event demanded, and whereas quite small in scale at all times having a catalytic impact.

Our involvement in checking out is a case in element. We deployed personnel to the city of Liverpool to assist the first ‘complete city’ group mass testing pilot.

The classes learned along the way are now being applied in checking out throughout the country from Medway in Kent to Merthyr Tydfil, Kirklees, Lancashire and more advantageous Manchester. And only in the near past in enhanced Manchester I approved the deployment of 800 personnel and the day gone by they started concentrated community trying out.

The nation is, of path, desperate to see the rollout of the largest vaccination programme in British heritage. And the NHS is providing vaccines to those who want it at extraordinary velocity.

Defence’s contribution has, once once again, been primarily through planning support offered by defence logisticians making use of their skills in building give chains at velocity in complicated environments. And, as Brigadier Phil Prosser, Commander 101 Logistic Brigade stated within the No10 press convention last week, ‘this operation is unparalleled in its scale and complexity’.

So, as that operation has shifted from planning to execution and is now specializing in unexpectedly scaling up, defence has been making ready to adapt its support to the NHS. now not most effective have we despatched extra defense force planners to support the expansion, together with in the Devolved Administrations.

but, following a request from the branch for health and Social Care, we have established a Vaccine short reaction drive of medically knowledgeable personnel who are assigned to the 7 NHS England areas. They will also be deployed at short be aware in the adventure of any disruptions to the centered vaccination technique and might be scaled-up if required by means of any of the country wide health features throughout the UK.

all through the pandemic it is understanding the requirement that has been defence’s priority with a purpose to tailor make the most acceptable assist.

it’s why we now have despatched 10 defense force assessment teams to each and every of the ten NHS areas and Devolved Administrations. they’re assisting to examine the condition on the floor earlier than formulating and coordinating essentially the most positive response. for example, we at present have consultants working at the newly reopened NHS London Nightingale – a health center and a mass vaccination facility – which will support the capital address Covid-19’s 2d wave.

frequently defence’s efforts had been very visible. comparable to featuring crucial help to our distant places territories. just closing weekend the Royal Air drive delivered more than 5,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to British residents in Gibraltar.

but we shouldn’t overlook our militia’ much less visible because their contribution is not any less critical. Our planners are now embedded in local authorities working alongside the regional liaison officers featuring crucial command and control and logistics aid. They recognize the way to contend with lethal ailments like Ebola and how to reside calm below power. those cool heads have been pivotal now not just in coordinating efforts but assessing how and where defence can bring the highest quality response.

I have outlined the personnel we have deployed or held at readiness, but the real quantity assisting the nation to combat the Coronavirus is way more desirable. we now have in extra of 5,000 armed forces personnel and civilian group of workers helping the COVID response from behind the scenes as part of their hobbies responsibilities.

these days I are looking to pay tribute to those guys and ladies.

They encompass the lots of of personnel in Defence Headquarters answerable for coordinating the Covid aid drive. among them 100 personnel of the MoD’s winter Operations telephone, a similar quantity working on COVID planning at Standing Joint Command, and 100 more facilitating COVID operations as a part of their normal jobs in the Joint military commands.

From the Defence clinical functions we need to now not forget that we have greater than 1,600 consultants, clinicians and nurses and trainees thoroughly embedded in the NHS all over the United Kingdom, and as ever they’re working alongside their civilian counterparts. and a few of those civilian counterparts themselves are also militia reservists.

And, at our globally in demand Defence Science and expertise Labs (DSTL), there are a hundred and eighty scientists and technicians working throughout 30 different COVID-19 connected initiatives aiding the executive’s scientific realizing.

in the meantime, our expert analysts in Defence Intelligence have studied how Covid-19 spreads. And our procurement consultants were busily assisting the acquisition of extraordinary portions of PPE and equipment.

This has been a really country wide and whole force response, uniting regulars and reservists, soldiers and teachers, sailors and civil servants. some of whom the leading Minister met the previous day when travelling the Ashton Gate mass vaccination centre in Bristol.

Yet, even as we respond to the pandemic, we must hold our day job guarding the nation from dangers at home and overseas.

regardless of the virus troops proceed to control wider iciness initiatives equivalent to flood insurance policy, counter terrorism and the ecu transition. And we now have maintained our momentum in operations important to security. even if extraordinary terrorists in Iraq, deterring Russian aggression within the Baltics, supporting UN peacekeeping in Mali, or conserving our continual-at sea-deterrent.

It goes without announcing that the safeguard and welfare of our individuals is paramount. i can reassure the condo that we’ve rigorous and robust measures in region to offer protection to our personnel and reduce risks to themselves and their families even as carrying out their duties.

So let me assure the house that our militia stay resilient and able to assist the NHS and colleagues across all govt departments. Now, as ever, in some way, they stand able to do their duty, youngsters, anyplace, and every time they’re vital.

i do know some colleagues are eager to see the militia take a greater leading function however I should still clarify that our constitution quite rightly ensures that our armed forces responds to civilian requests for assistance. They act in support of civilian authorities but are always able to accept as true with what greater they could do to provide that aid.

collectively we are able to do our bit to beat this deadly ailment and assist our nation get again to normality.