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Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Contains threads on Royal Navy equipment of the past, present and future.
Aethulwulf
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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby Aethulwulf » 19 Mar 2020, 00:13

NHS England had 4100 intensive care beds for adults (Jan 2020). RFA Argus has 10 intensive care beds.

The NHS is currently trying to double its normal number of intensive care beds. RFA Argus would amount to just less than 0.25% of this extra requirement.

In addition to the 10 intensive care beds, RFA Argus also has 20 high dependency beds and 70 general ward beds. Even if all these could be converted to intensive care beds (which I doubt), it would still amount to just less than 2.5% of the extra requirement.

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby Caribbean » 19 Mar 2020, 09:09

RichardIC wrote:OK, where have you heard it?

I've also heard similar - TV news (Sky, I think) yesterday dropped in a hint that Army field hospitals and morgues may be brought into use if needed - could just be unfounded journalistic "interpretation", could be that they've been told that "off the record", so they can only hint at it.

As for your comments on the US Health system - I would, to an extent, disagree. Not about the system, which is pretty horrendous (though the medical care available is world-class), but about the use of the hospital ships. By their very nature, they are designed and intended to be used in extra-ordinary circumstances. Most often those circumstances are the aftermath of natural disaster or war, but quite often they are used to assist in the control of localised epidemics. Personally, I would characterise the current circumstances as extra-ordinary (as in "beyond/ outside the ordinary"), which justifies the use of the two ships to assist. If the UK had similar, we would undoubtedly be preparing to use them ourselves, (despite the NHS) since they not only bring additional capacity to bear, but are de facto quarantine facilities at the same time.

dmereifield wrote:RFA Argus likely to be utilised surely?

If it is, my guess is that it will be used in the same way as in West Africa - to deploy field hospitals/ medical teams and support/ treat forces personnel, rather than directly handling civilian cases - a model that worked quite well, I believe.
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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby RichardIC » 19 Mar 2020, 09:43

Caribbean wrote:dmereifield wrote:
RFA Argus likely to be utilised surely?

If it is, my guess is that it will be used in the same way as in West Africa - to deploy field hospitals/ medical teams and support/ treat forces personnel, rather than directly handling civilian cases - a model that worked quite well, I believe


Any DMS personnel usually assigned to Argus would be far better used being reassigned to support NHS hospitals.

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby RichardIC » 19 Mar 2020, 09:56

Caribbean wrote:they not only bring additional capacity to bear, but are de facto quarantine facilities at the same time.


If they are not normally fully staffed they will not bring extra capacity. Any clinical staff used to deliver services onboard will need to be diverted from elsewhere.

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby Tempest414 » 19 Mar 2020, 10:15

First step is to conscripted all private medical staff and Dr's to to the NHS as for Argus she could come in as a floating med centre for the Scottish Islands taking pressure off main land units and rescue teams

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby Caribbean » 19 Mar 2020, 10:40

RichardIC wrote:Any DMS personnel usually assigned to Argus would be far better used being reassigned to support NHS hospitals. /quote]
Personally, I would say that having some specialist facilities available for servicemen and women (who will, of course, be asked to do the worst jobs), would be very good for the morale of those involved. Increasing the operation tempo will result in more injuries, and I feel that it is appropriate to have priority facilities for service (and possibly civilian emergency) personnel.
RichardIC wrote:If they are not normally fully staffed they will not bring extra capacity. Any clinical staff used to deliver services onboard will need to be diverted from elsewhere.

In the case of the US, the USN/USNS have their own medical corps, who will be mobilised to to support the two hospital ships and provide assistance to the civilian authorities - this is extra capacity that would not normally be available

In the case of the UK, you are making the major assumption that, if built, we would not make provision for staffing at least one of the ships at a time (presumably normally paid for out of the Aid budget, rather than the NHS). Since in normal use, the ship is likely to be on the other side of the world, it is clear that the staff will not normally be available to the NHS - moving the ship back to the UK will make the staff available, along with all the beds and facilities it carries at very short notice. If only one ship is in use at a time, the second ship could be staffed with recently retired medical staff (who are currently being asked to return to work) to provide additional bed capacity, to alleviate overcrowding. It's only if that is overwhelmed that we would then need to move to building temporary or field hospitals (primarily to handle the sick (up to, needing oxygen supplementation, but not ventilation), but not serious (ventilation)/ critical(multiple organ failure) cases, while the permanent hospitals gradually transform more and more beds into high-dependency beds).

Mercy and Comfort each have 500 beds (max. 1000) of which 50 are high dependency - I would assume that we would be aiming for smaller vessels, but even so, the first phase of the Government's medical plan is to stand up another 50 high-dependency beds, Phase 2 is 500 and Phase 3 is 5000, so Phase 1 could be covered at very short notice.

If the infection peak is managed correctly, then they may be all that is needed to avoid the neccessity of building tent and portacabin "hospitals", even if the Government appears to be planning for Phase 3 plus, by asking for another 20,000 ventilators to be manufactured)
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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby RichardIC » 19 Mar 2020, 11:05

Caribbean wrote:In the case of the US, the USN/USNS have their own medical corps, who will be mobilised to to support the two hospital ships and provide assistance to the civilian authorities - this is extra capacity that would not normally be available

In the case of the UK, you are making the major assumption that, if built, we would not make provision for staffing at least one of the ships at a time (presumably normally paid for out of the Aid budget, rather than the NHS). Since in normal use, the ship is likely to be on the other side of the world, it is clear that the staff will not normally be available to the NHS - moving the ship back to the UK will make the staff available, along with all the beds and facilities it carries at very short notice. If only one ship is in use at a time, the second ship could be staffed with recently retired medical staff (who are currently being asked to return to work) to provide additional bed capacity, to alleviate overcrowding. It's only if that is overwhelmed that we would then need to move to building temporary or field hospitals (primarily to handle the sick (up to, needing oxygen supplementation, but not ventilation), but not serious (ventilation)/ critical(multiple organ failure) cases, while the permanent hospitals gradually transform more and more beds into high-dependency beds).

Mercy and Comfort each have 500 beds (max. 1000) of which 50 are high dependency - I would assume that we would be aiming for smaller vessels, but even so, the first phase of the Government's medical plan is to stand up another 50 high-dependency beds, Phase 2 is 500 and Phase 3 is 5000, so Phase 1 could be covered at very short notice.

If the infection peak is managed correctly, then they may be all that is needed to avoid the neccessity of building tent and portacabin "hospitals", even if the Government appears to be planning for Phase 3 plus, by asking for another 20,000 ventilators to be manufactured)


I was refering to the US vessels. I've made my view on the potential for a UK vessel known on this thread possibly too vehemently.

Anyhow the Secretary of State has outlined current plans to stand up the Covid Support Force. And there is nothing about Argus or field hospitals.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/mili ... port-force

There is a shortage of trained people, and in some cases (PPE, ventilators) the right equipment.

So we won't be having portacabin hospitals. What we may need is extra mortuary capacity, although it looks like the plan is to speed up cremation/burial to help mitigate this.

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby Caribbean » 19 Mar 2020, 11:43

RichardIC wrote:So we won't be having portacabin hospitals.

If current plans work. Hopefully they will be sufficient to manage the load on the NHS.
The "Covid Support Force" is just a re-named Op Broadshare that has been in the works for two weeks or so now. There will be planning for later phases, if needed. One of the potential tasks for Broadshare is operation of morgues
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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby Tempest414 » 19 Mar 2020, 12:30

RichardIC wrote:The important thing for everyone to understand is there is no shortage of hospitals. There is a shortage of trained people, and in some cases (PPE, ventilators) the right equipment.

So we won't be having portacabin hospitals. What we may need is extra mortuary capacity, although it looks like the plan is to speed up cremation/burial to help mitigate this.


Well I don't no where you live but where I lived and worked there has been a shortage of hospital bed and critical care since under Labour in 1995 they merged 3 hospitals into one closeing 8 theatres 2 A&E departments and 10 wards and today Harlow is to be one of the new hospitals under this govenment but at this time has 5 wards 4 non key departments in portacabin's

as for more Mortuary space refridgeration lorry units have been used in the past when units have been full or not working

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby RichardIC » 20 Mar 2020, 12:24

So it looks like the US Military - with their resources - are struggling to staff two hospital ships. Their deployment is purely cosmetic PR smoke and mirrors.

They're robbing Peter to pay Paul.

"A challenge is making sure they're properly staffed; that means each ship is over 1,000 professionals so we need to get them alerted and on the ships and then [sailing] to their respective locations," Esper said.

When it comes to staffing the ships with medical personal, Hoffman said the service is looking at its pool of active-duty military personnel first before it turns to the reserves and civilian personnel pools.


https://www.janes.com/article/94983/cov ... ons-remain

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby Dahedd » 20 Mar 2020, 18:52

I think this disaster presents the Govt with a perfect opportunity to get 1 or 2 built. Built in the UK with funding from the DifD budget & direct from the treasury.

However the incredible amount of spending to keep the country going might well spell the end of the Trident replacement, a reduction in fast jet numbers & have huge impact on civilian projects such as HS2.

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby serge750 » 20 Mar 2020, 20:29

Maybe the gov will think of it as PR to help out the ship building industry ? and then as a reserve on intensive care beds for the NHS if the worst happens again....

Not the most efficient way to give aid but very visible

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby dmereifield » 22 Mar 2020, 19:41

RFA Argus departed Devonport this afternoon...

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby shark bait » 23 Mar 2020, 09:55

Dahedd wrote:I think this disaster presents the Govt with a perfect opportunity to get 1 or 2 built

Very wishful thinking. In a years time people still wont case about shipbuilding, let alone a hospital ship.
@LandSharkUK

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby dmereifield » 23 Mar 2020, 11:50

shark bait wrote:
Dahedd wrote:I think this disaster presents the Govt with a perfect opportunity to get 1 or 2 built

Very wishful thinking. In a years time people still wont case about shipbuilding, let alone a hospital ship.


But the current Government will, and they'll have means and motive to do it

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby abc123 » 23 Mar 2020, 12:52

As far as I know, the most of the RN ships ( like frigates, destroyers etc. ) have no permanent doctor on board. Maybe to solve that gap would be a good start?
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What's her position about heavily armed, well prepared and overmanned armies?
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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby Lord Jim » 23 Mar 2020, 15:57

If they do the usual "Follow the US", route I am sure someone in the Government has asked why we haven't got such a vessel. As long as all people point the finger a DFID to purchase such a ship I am fine with it.

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby jonas » 23 Mar 2020, 16:04

dmereifield wrote:RFA Argus departed Devonport this afternoon...


Whereabouts on the Thames will she be mooring. :shh:

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby Caribbean » 23 Mar 2020, 18:08

Can she squeeze through Tower Bridge? Might be a bit tall
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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby serge750 » 23 Mar 2020, 18:46

jonas wrote:
dmereifield wrote:RFA Argus departed Devonport this afternoon...


Whereabouts on the Thames will she be mooring. :shh:


Maybe the Excel center....?

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby bobp » 23 Mar 2020, 20:31

serge750 wrote:Maybe the Excel center....?


There is talk of using the Excel centre as a Hospital perhaps you are correct.

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby abc123 » 24 Mar 2020, 15:58

Lord Jim wrote:If they do the usual "Follow the US", route I am sure someone in the Government has asked why we haven't got such a vessel. As long as all people point the finger a DFID to purchase such a ship I am fine with it.



Manning?
Fortune favors brave sir, said Carrot cheerfully.
What's her position about heavily armed, well prepared and overmanned armies?
Oh, noone's ever heard of Fortune favoring them, sir.
According to General Tacticus, it's because they favor themselves…

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby serge750 » 24 Mar 2020, 19:41

Argos inbound to Devonport via save the royal navy twitter page , Got that one WRONG...2 + 2= 3 :lolno:

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby SKB » 24 Mar 2020, 19:44

But Argos is closed?! :mrgreen:

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby clivestonehouse1 » 24 Mar 2020, 20:36

serge750 wrote:Argus inbound to Devonport via save the royal navy twitter page , Got that one WRONG...2 + 2= 3 no:


Ah, I'll be seeing her tomorrow then.

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