Doctors from army forced to re-enlist

Image copyright Army Image caption The Commandant of the Women’s Royal Artillery School, Lieutenant Colonel Jill Drew, insists soldiers can come back from it

The Army is forcing commanders to 'flag' non-medicalists 'sergeants' and all non-medical non-commissioned officers to 'renew' their service commitments, effectively ending their careers.

The strict order also applies to nurses who wish to work at state-run hospitals and a small proportion of soldiers who have not had their medical records updated.

The move is designed to prevent thousands of people from falling through the gaps in the health service.

Some non-medical officers insist they are not only due to be urgently reassigned to units that need their skills, but can come back from it.

One medic from the army’s Royal Geographical Society says the announcement has infuriated him: “It is a crushing blow to me… I see these orders as implying that I can’t continue to do this work.”

Another officer told the BBC they intended to “fight back” if they are unable to secure a different duty.

The aim is to reduce the number of people who choose not to take up their careers with the service due to a lack of medical cover.

The BBC visited four health, fitness and civilian hospitals to see if they were prepared to deal with an unexpected surge in demand.

One emergency care team told the BBC that there was usually a “50/50” split between medical staff and non-medical staff in their wards but “the most intense” they had seen was in the wake of the public inquiry into the death of Private Sharon Beshenivsky.

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