MILITARY personnel have been deployed to Dorset County Hospital to support staff as the hospital continues to roll-out the Covid-19 vaccine.

The Government announced more than 5,000 Armed Forces personnel are now deployed on the largest ever peacetime resilience operation, across all four of the home nations and focused on three strands of the Covid response - testing, vaccines and clinical support for the NHS.

The majority of the 800 defence medics supporting hospitals are trained as Combat Medical Technicians, who in their day job deploy on overseas operations and exercises as medics, work in defence medical centres and provide medical training to fellow Service Personnel.

The Government say more than 100 defence medics supporting hospitals in the South West, including Dorset County Hospital, to relieve pressure on NHS staff by working in intensive care units and other patient facing roles, providing vital care alongside NHS professionals, and fulfil non-clinical roles.

A spokeswoman for Dorset County Hospital confirmed that some military personnel are supporting their staff and noted they are 'grateful' for their support.

She said: “The MoD has deployed service personnel to support the NHS in the South West region for the next few weeks, carrying out a range of duties.

"We are grateful for their support. It remains crucial that everyone helps by staying at home, using healthcare services appropriately and following Hands, Face, Space.”

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: "Defence medics are now deployed on the homefront in the highest numbers during peacetime, supporting the NHS in testing, vaccinating, and hospitals.

"Earlier this week, I spoke with Armed Forces personnel deployed in all four corners of the United Kingdom, helping communities across the country to combat the effects of this virus.

"They are working hard alongside colleagues in the NHS and local authorities, but are ready to do more if and when the call comes."

Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said the Government is 'on track' to meet its target of offering at the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine to the most vulnerable groups by Monday, February 15.

He said: "Everyone can play a part in our fight against the virus and I’m grateful to the extraordinary efforts of our armed forces who are doing their bit to help deliver the biggest medical deployment this country has ever seen.

"Working alongside our healthcare heroes and local partners, they will help support the roll out of the vaccine as quickly as possible across the UK."