8:02am Thursday 29th August 2013
WELSH ambulance service staff will embark on a mission to Afghanistan to put their life saving skills to use in a military hospital.
The team of four will undergo a rigorous training schedule ahead of their deployment, and are likely to serve up to six months abroad, starting this autumn.
The medics include emergency medical technician (EMT) Nigel Smith, clinical support nurse Nigel Heal, locality manager Dorian James, and paramedic Karen Davies.
The group will will be based at the Role 3 hospital at Camp Bastion, where wounded military personnel from the British, US and other ISAF forces in Helmand Province are evacuated to from the battlefield and treated.
Nigel Heal, 55, of Blaenavon, is a clinical support nurse based in Cwmbran, will work to ensure that care delivered at the hospital is to a high standard.
Mr Heal, who has also seen service abroad, including in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, said:“Although my job is mainly office based managing the healthcare governance of the Role 3, I will certainly do my best to get in amongst the clinical side of things.”
Joining him will be Nigel Smith, 48, of Aberbargoed, Caerphilly, who is an EMT in the Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) based in Bridgend.
Mr Smith will work ‘front of house’ at the hospital, ensuring patients are disarmed before they undergo treatment.
The father-of-four was a member of the Royal Army Medical Corps before he joined the Welsh Ambulance Service, and has already seen action in Bosnia, the Falklands and Northern Ireland.
It will be his second visit to Afghanistan, following deployment in 2008 when he worked in an emergency department.
Mr Smith said: “My first time in Afghanistan was quite daunting, but I’ll know what to expect on this tour.
“I’m there to do a job, and I will do it to the best of my ability.”
Elwyn Price-Morris, chief executive of the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “To work in a hostile environment like Afghanistan is no mean feat, but the Trust has every faith that its staff will do a first class job of saving lives. We wish them the best of luck.”
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