Assault course challenge in hospital grounds

It’s not every day you see a hospital chief executive and consultant surgeon go head-to-head in a military command task, while blind-folded, with an audience of staff and patients.

Richard Spencer Jones and Mark Brandreth with Jo Spencer Jones, Rebecca Warren and Ashley Brown
Richard Spencer Jones and Mark Brandreth with Jo Spencer Jones, Rebecca Warren and Ashley Brown

The field at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt specialist orthopaedic hospital, near Oswestry, was transformed into a challenging assault course which required trust and communication, as well as courage.

Mark Brandreth, chief executive; and Mr Richard Spencer Jones, consultant orthopaedic surgeon; battled it out blindfolded – while being guided by a partner – to raise awareness of Reserves Day, which is marked today, and the contribution that NHS personnel make to the Armed Forces.

Reserves Day is an annual event, as part of Armed Forces Week, where reservists swap their work uniform for their military clothing to raise the profile of their voluntary service roles.

Rebecca Warren, lead nurse for the Covid-19 vaccination centre at the hospital and a warrant officer in the reserves for 202 Field Hospital, came up with the idea of the assault course.

She said: “I thought it would be a memorable way to mark Reserves Day and raise awareness of some of the skills required to be a reservist – it was also great fun for us all who were watching.

“Credit where credit is due, congratulations to Mark and Ashley for winning the challenge."

She added: “Since being a reservist, I’ve gained skills that are crucial to my day job at RJAH. This includes leadership, confidence, resilience and determination.

“All these skills were especially important when I was asked to lead the Covid-19 vaccination centre at RJAH.”

The military command task saw the pair crawling under nets and jumping through hoops all while blindfolded and following instructions from their partner.

Ashley Brown, a lower limb arthroplasty specialist trainee, guided Mark while Mr Spencer Jones was directed by Jo Spencer Jones, League of Friends volunteer and his wife.

Mark added: “Taking part in a military assault course in front of our staff and patients on the hospital field isn’t something I do every day but it was extremely worthwhile to raise awareness of the importance of Reserves Day.

“We’re all incredibly proud of the dedication, professionalism and contribution that Rebecca makes to the hospital and local health system, as part of her reservist role.”

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