News story

Medics on their way to Sierra Leone

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Personnel from Hampshire’s 22 Field Hospital will provide a key component in the UK’s response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

Medics from 22 Field Hospital en route to Sierra Leone [Picture: Crown copyright]
Medics from 22 Field Hospital en route to Sierra Leone

They will join the 40 who are already in the country establishing a 92-bed treatment facility. 12 of these beds will be set aside for the specific treatment of healthcare workers and will be operated solely by the Britain’s military medics.

Among the 91 deploying were general nurses, medical technicians, specialist nurses, doctors, infectious disease consultants as well as drivers, chefs, administrators and logistical staff.

This assortment of trades and professions is required to deliver the necessary means by which to take on the deadly disease.

The troops are expected to arrive in Sierra Leone around lunchtime today, 16 October, where they will operate the 12-bed healthcare workers’ treatment facility located in Kerry Town, about 50 kilometres from the capital, Freetown.

Royal Engineers surveying the Ebola treatment centre site
Royal Engineers surveying the Ebola treatment centre site in Kerry Town [Picture: Rob Holden Photography/Save the Children/DFID]

The UK’s contribution to the fight against Ebola is being coordinated by the Department for International Development.

The Ministry of Defence’s total contribution will amount to 750 personnel. The UK’s treatment centres will provide direct medical care for up to 8,800 Ebola patients over 6 months.

Speaking of her troops’ high level of morale and keenness to get on with the job, 22 Field Hospital’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Alison McCourt explained:

This unit has been the ‘Vanguard’ medical regiment for the past 20 months which means we are on high readiness to deploy at short notice to anywhere in the world – although this is a bit different and provides us with a challenge we are perfectly suited to this kind of task.

I firmly believe we can make a significant difference and it will be professionally rewarding for those taking part.

Local builders working on UK Ebola Treatment Unit
Local builders working on the construction of the UK Ebola Treatment Unit in Kerry Town in Sierra Leone [Picture: Staff Sergeant Tom Robinson RLC, Crown copyright]

Medical specialists from both the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force and highly and specifically skilled staff from the Ministry of Defence Hospital Units have been brought in to 22 Field Hospital for the task.

The Commanding Officer summed up what she believes will be the key achievement for her troops in Sierra Leone:

We need to provide sufficient reassurance to healthcare workers that will encourage them to come and help defeat this disease.

Published 16 October 2014