Five volunteers from the NHS in Yorkshire will depart for Sierra Leone today to join Britain’s fight against Ebola.
After arriving in the capital Freetown they will complete a week of training before moving to British-built Ebola treatment centres across the country.
A 30-strong group from across the country, which includes GPs, nurses, clinicians, psychiatrists and consultants in emergency medicine, will begin work setting up procedures, diagnosing and treating people who have contracted the deadly virus.
They will work in treatment centres built by British Army Royal Engineers.
The five are GP Charles Heatley, 53, of Birley, Sheffield, paramedic Gareth Ross, 41, and clinical supervisor William Clucas, 44, both from the Yorkshire Ambulance Service, nurse Lizzie Marmont, 40, who works in hospitals in Leeds, and Prof John Wright, 51, consultant in clinical epidemiology in Bradford, who will be programme director at a new health centre being set up six hours’ drive from Freetown.
Dr Heatley said: “I feel as confident about going out as anyone could expect to be. The training has been first class, we all feel we can protect ourselves from infection with Ebola as along as we follow the instructions received. We have also had training to prepare ourselves emotionally, and the feeling in the group is very positive, and very strong.
“We feel compelled to do this. If we can support more patients through their illness we will have made a step towards bringing the epidemic under control more quickly.”
The volunteers have been prepared for their deployment with nine days of training at a specialist Army unit in York.