A TEAM from Dorset County Hospital swapped scrubs for combat when they took part in the NHS military challenge.

The weather did not dampen spirits as the team took on competitors from 16 other NHS trusts across the south west region.

Held over two days the competitive event involved physical and mental activities provided by the region’s Reservists from the Royal Navy and Marines, Army and Royal Air Force Reserves.

There were a range of military and medical scenarios ranging from Care Under Fire to a demanding obstacle course.

The final challenge for the teams of twelve - ranging from hospital porters to NHS Trust Executives - was a timed stretcher race and an endurance march over the Dartmoor Tors. 

The ‘exercise’ demonstrated the benefits that can be gained by NHS Trusts employers and employees from training and opportunities available to them by supporting or serving in Britain’s Volunteer Reserve Forces.

The Commanding Officer of 243 Field Hospital Colonel Alastair Taylor said: “This was an excellent event that highlighted the benefits that are available from being a member of the Reserve Forces. These benefits are not just limited to the individual making the commitment but to their employers in terms of the skills they can bring back to their regular place of work.”

Naomi Phillips, one of the 11 members of the DCH team added: “We are so proud that the team finished in the top 10. The weekend pushed all of us outside our comfort zones. We were an effective and supportive team; no one was left behind and everyone had their part to play. We have all learnt new skills which we can apply in our work roles.”

243 (The Wessex) Field Hospital is part of the Army Reserve Medical Services. Their mission is to be ready provide vital medical support to the UKs Armed Forces deployed anywhere in the world.

Speaking on behalf of the National Health Service, chief executive of Salisbury Foundation Cara Charles-Barks said: “We have had an amazing time. It has given our staff a real sense of what the military do, and brought a whole new respect for our own staff that are Reservists in the military, and how we can support them. We are both organisations steeped in history, we have very shared values and we have staff that have a shared culture as well”. All of our staff both the Army and the NHS are very passionate about what they do. And we are really fortunate to have that relationship with the military because our NHS staff learn so much from working with the military.”

Despite the Dorset team’s best efforts, they were beaten to the top spot by the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust, who were crowed winners. 

Gloucestershire Royal Hospital was runner up and Poole Hospital awarded third place.