THE ambulance service are looking for 1,000 temporary workers and volunteers as soldiers and firefighters prepare to join them in the battle against coronavirus.

Bosses at the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust say the Covid-19 outbreak has caused unprecedented demand.

This week, 15 paramedics and combat medical technicians from 16 Medical Regiment have completed an EEAST training package at Colchester’s Merville Barracks to prepare them to work on ambulances in partnership with NHS paramedics. 

Ten on-call firefighters will be driving ambulances from tomorrow, while soldiers from 16 Medical Regiment have completed training at Merville Barracks to prepare them to work with paramedics.

Chief fire officer Jo Turton said: "I could not be prouder of our people - we saw about 90 colleagues come forward to volunteer to support our NHS colleagues.

"Even in these times of uncertainty, the one thing that never changes is their commitment and passion for helping others in need.

"For now, we’ll be proceeding with ten firefighters, but there is potential to increase that in future, and we are open to exploring different options around this.

"It's an excellent example of partnership working - we are one of the first fire and rescue services in the country to be pressing on with this initiative.

"And of course, it goes without saying that while this activity is taking place, we'll always maintain our core functionality as a fire and rescue service."

Ambulance service chief operating officer Marcus Bailey said: "We are very grateful to our blue light colleagues in the fire and rescue service for their kind offer and look forward to working closely with them to keep our patients, staff, volunteers and the wider public safe during this pandemic.

"Covid-19 represents an unprecedented challenge for all of us and we truly appreciate the fantastic support we have received from the fire service, the public, businesses and our other partners."