Individuals from the Ministry of Defence’s 1st Battalion The Rifles and Allied Rapid Reaction Corps Support Battalion have been recognised for their work managing testing units in Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. Mobile Testing Units (MTU’s) were deployed throughout the UK in response to COVID-19 under Operation Rescript.
The MTU managed logistics in the community, delivering and collecting antigen tests from patients before they attended hospital, as well as supporting the Community Testing Units (CTU’s) and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board in a wide variety of other roles associated with the fight against COVID-19.
Thanks to the hard work, determination and commitment shown by the teams, many patients have been able to undergo hospital procedures on time and care homes were able to continue to support their residents in a safe environment. The team were also responsible for carrying out assessments of a number of prospective sites as part of their duties.
Len Richards, Chief Executive of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, said: “The discipline, selflessness and integrity shown by the teams at the Mobile Testing Unit has been exceptional. The way team members were able to put nervous and apprehensive patients at ease - before and during their self-swab procedure - speaks volumes to the adaptability of the young soldiers, non-commissioned officers and young officers from both units.
“As a Health Board we are immensely proud of the actions of these individuals, putting their health at risk alongside colleagues within the NHS in these unprecedented times”.
Brigadier Andrew Dawes CBE, Commander Joint Military Command Wales, commented: “The Armed Forces in Wales are proud to have supported Cardiff and Vale University Health Board in the collective fight against COVID-19. It has proved a very rewarding experience for our soldiers and we have been truly humbled by the selfless commitment and dedication of the members of the Board during such a difficult time. To have played a small part in this has been a real privilege.”
COVID-19 testing in the Cardiff and Vale area was allocated to 14 Squadron, Allied Rapid Reaction Corps Support Battalion, based out of Innsworth, Gloucestershire, and B Company, 1st Battalion The Rifles based at Beachley Barracks near Chepstow. The team were managed from the Community Testing Unit at Splott Therapy Centre. The MTU is now in the process of being handed over to Deloitte to proceed with testing capacity while the Military units are re-deployed.