Requests for military aid to the civil authorities (MACA) from the NHS in England. 2017;

The benefits of joining forces

25 March 2021
Volume 30 · Issue 6


Sam Foster, Chief Nurse, Oxford University Hospitals, considers the benefits of having military teams to assist and bring a fresh perspective to NHS Trusts during the pandemic

Why don't we get the army in? I was asked this by non-NHS colleagues as COVID-19 impacted for a second time. Many are unaware that most serving clinical staff were already part of the response because their roles, when they are not deployed overseas, are working clinically within the NHS.

NHS England (2017) states that the NHS is generally expected to manage emergency responses within its own capabilities. However, where capacity has been exceeded or the NHS does not have the specific capability to deliver, the military may be required to augment responses. Military support in an emergency is provided on an assistance basis, known as Military Aid to the Civil Authorities (MACA).

Typically, the armed forces can be brought in to deal with a range of situations, such as flooding, bomb disposal and mountain rescue; also included in the list are public health epidemics. My Trust was privileged to be supported by a regional MACA request to assist us during our recent COVID-19 response.

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting British Journal of Nursing and reading some of our peer-reviewed resources for nurses. To read more, please register today. You’ll enjoy the following great benefits:

What's included

  • Limited access to clinical or professional articles

  • Unlimited access to the latest news, blogs and video content