Soldiers have revealed chatting to a 101-year-old ex-serviceman at Northampton General Hospital is an experience that will stay with them long after the pandemic.
Army personnel from 3rd Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland and The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards were dismissed on Thursday (February 10) after more than three weeks supporting the NHS effort to combat rising numbers of Covid patients and staff absences caused by the pandemic.
Sergeant Clark McCrindle said: “We’ve enjoyed chats with people who did National Service. I met an ex-serviceman who was 101 years old and It was great to have a conversation with him.
"It’s an experience which will stay with me for a long time to come. The healthcare assistants, porters and nurses really do graft.”
Sergeant Martin Randles from the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, who also worked at NGH, added: “Whilst it’s taken me outside my comfort zone it’s been really rewarding.
"We’ve done what we can to support and we know it’s been welcomed. We’ve seen appreciation every day, whether that be through a smile or a verbal thank you.”
Doctors and nurses at Northampton General Hospital saluted the soldiers who chipped in to help front-line staff.
NGH Emergency Department Matron, Rhiannon Baker, said: “They have helped us in lots of ways including transporting patients for x-rays and other tests, chatting with patients, and supporting staff with refreshments.
"It has been lovely to have had some extra helping hands during an extremely busy time for us and we want to thank them all for all of their efforts over the last few weeks.”
The soldiers went through appropriate infection control and induction training before performing non-medical tasks such as helping move patients and equipment between wards and departments, serving food and drinks, cleaning clinical areas and equipment, and chatting with patients to brighten up their days.
NGH chief executive, Heidi Smoult, said: “It was a breath of fresh air for our teams to be supported in many of the tasks which take them away from front line patient care.
"Our patients have also been very appreciative and interested in our military colleagues. I want to thank them all for their valuable contribution at this difficult time.”