SEVERAL medics at the Royal Blackburn Hospital could soon be drafted into conflict zones around the world after offering their services to the Army reserve unit.

Personnel from the 207 (Manchester) Field Hospital held a successful recruitment event at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) this week, signing up a number of health care professionals and support staff who were eager to take on a new challenge in their spare time.

The unit, which has drawn from health workers in Greater Manchester and Lancashire since the Boer War, provided substantial medical support in the two World Wars, as well as more recent conflicts such as the Gulf War, Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Kosovo.

Its last deployment was to Afghanistan where its reservists ran the field hospital in Camp Bastion, which was considered at the time to be the busiest trauma hospital in the world.

Warrant officer Ian Jolley said: “To ensure that 207 are able to provide the very best care for our service personnel and civilians injured in military operations, we need to recruit NHS staff from right across the spectrum of acute care.

“The list of specialties required in a Field Hospital is extensive. As well as doctors and nurses, we need health care assistants, pharmacy technicians and pharmacists, radiographers, laboratory technicians, theatre staff and of course sisters, matrons and consultants.”

He said the unit is an ‘essential part of the Army Medical Services Reserve’ and is trained to provide hospital treatment and care anywhere in the world in support of our armed forces and allies.

Fully deployed, a Field Hospital provides an emergency department, operating theatres, ITU beds, recovery wards and a full range of diagnostic services and other clinical departments.

Anecdotally, there are 17-20 ELHT staff registered with 207 Field Hospital who include staff nurses, porter, Emergency Care Practitioner and physiotherapist. Over 10 signed-up yesterday and more are registering interest.