Page last updated at 21:52 GMT, Monday, 23 February 2009

UK medics giving front-line help

Leading Naval Nurse Sarah Butler (left) and Medical Assistant Georgina Francis (right) treat an injured soldier
Sarah Butler and Georgina Francis said it was "different"

A team of medics and nurses who usually treat injured soldiers flown back to the UK are in Afghanistan helping to save the lives of frontline troops.

Five from the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine in Birmingham are at a field hospital at Camp Bastion, the UK's main military base in Helmand province.

Leading Naval Nurse Sarah Butler said she wanted to understand what soldiers experienced before going to the centre.

The 26-year-old said she had "seen both sides of the coin now".

'Emergency care'

The Royal Centre for Defence Medicine is at Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham.

Miss Butler, who is originally from Leeds, said: "I was seeing them as they came back and I thought I was being a bit of a fraud."

Miss Butler, who has been at the centre for more than a year, said the job in Afghanistan was "completely different" to working at the centre.

"Here the patients are flown out quite soon after the injury so they are still not taking in what is happening," she said.

"It's a completely different job but it's good that I can advise them what it's like when they get back to Birmingham."

Medical assistant Georgina Francis said coming to Afghanistan had given her the chance to see first-hand what soldiers go through before arriving in Birmingham.

The 24-year-old, originally from Romsey, Hampshire, said: "Seeing them as they come through the doors is different to seeing them back home when they are stable.

"The emergency care the lads get here is brilliant."

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