A TEAM of Colchester soldiers have been deployed to the Falkland Islands to help the territory’s only hospital deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

The group of six from 16 Medical Regiment left Merville Barracks in Colchester before flying off to the islands off the coast of Argentina in the south Atlantic.They left from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

The airborne medics took equipment and personnel to provide an extra two beds to the three-bed intensive care unit at the King Edward Memorial Hospital in Port Stanley - some 8,000 miles away from their usual base.

British Forces have been securing the region since the Falklands War in 1982.

One of the medics deploying to the islands is Capt Marie Llewellyn, who is an intensive care nurse.

She has been in the Army for eight years and has previously deployed to Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak in 2015 and was working in a hospital up until the weekend.

“It has been a hectic few days,” she said.

“I did an NHS shift at Homerton Hospital on Friday, and there was a message on my phone when I finished on Saturday morning saying I was going to the Falklands.

“Since then, we’ve been checking and packing our medical and personal equipment to go away.

“We’re taking ventilators, oxygen and medication for two beds, and the nurses to run them so that we’re a self-sufficient addition to the hospital.

“I’m pleased to be going out and using my skills to help.”

16 Medical Regiment provides medical support to 16 Air Assault Brigade, which is known as the British Army’s global response force, and is trained and equipped to deploy on operations by parachute, helicopter or air landing.

The regiment provides a full care pathway, treating casualties from the point of wounding to consultant-led damage control resuscitation and surgery to save life, limb and eyesight, as well as primary healthcare.