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Soldiers get the best of care

PUBLISHED: 11:04 08 October 2009 | UPDATED: 17:14 25 August 2010

Kevin Cairney at work.

Kevin Cairney at work.

THE differences between the British Military Hospital in Camp Bastion and the National Health Service (NHS) back home are fascinating.

THE differences between the British Military Hospital in Camp Bastion and the National Health Service (NHS) back home are fascinating.

On the face of it the two systems are very similar because the Afghanistan facility has been developed by NHS personnel.

But there are many differences in morale, equipment and even cleanliness according to those who have worked in both.

The NHS stands to benefit hugely from the skills their staff bring back to the UK after dealing with scenarios that would never occur over here and the intensity of work.

Captain Angus Wilson of 256 (City of London) Field Hospital Volunteers is an intensive care nurse at St Barts Hospital who has been to Iraq and Afghanistan on tour before. He is going back out to Camp Bastion this week.

He said: "This is big work for the NHS, people are going back upskilled and are able to pass on those skills and working practices to colleagues."

Resuscitation officer Corporal Kevin Cairney (pictured), from Swanley, of (City of London) 256 field hospital volunteers, added: "Staff in Bastion are more motivated than within the NHS. It is about a pathway to care. The NHS is an occupation whereas the Territorial Army (TA) is a sideline I have chosen to do because I want to. I want to get the most out of it as I am only there for a limited time."

And Captain Wilson added often the equipment they have access to is better than you would find in the NHS. "Technologies and procedures have advanced so much, people can be brought in so quickly they may even stand a better chance of surviving here than they would in Britain. Also, it's spotless compared to the NHS. It is a clean working environment for staff."

One RAF officer added: "We make do with what we've got. The guys get the best care in the world. The thing we would like is more helicopters because there are not different helicopters for medical purposes so sometimes they have to be diverted from operations to pick up victims.

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