SWAPPING their scrubs for combats, Gloucestershire hospitals staff joined their colleagues from across the South West in being put through their paces at an army bootcamp this weekend.

Joined by Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust chief executive Deborah Lee, the self-named Gloucestershire Warriors spent a wet and muddy weekend at Okehampton training camp in Dartmoor.

They were one of 16 teams formed by the region's biggest NHS trusts to be entered and had their skills put to the test in a series of gruelling activities.

Military scenarios ranging from giving care under fire and a demanding obstacle course were organised for competitors.

The aim of the exercise was to demonstrate the benefits that can be gained by NHS employers and employees from training and opportunities available to them through serving in the Volunteer Reserve Forces.

The commanding officer of 243 Field Hospital colonel Alastair Taylor said: “This was an excellent event that highlighted the benefits that are available from being a member of the reserve forces.

"These benefits are not just limited to the individual making the commitment but to their employers in terms of the skills they can bring back to their regular place of work."

Thousands of pounds was raised before the teams even began the challenge and will be given to Focus, the charitable fund for the Gloucestershire Oncology Centre, to support cancer patients.

Two Gloucestershire-based teams were entered – one each from Gloucestershire Royal and Cheltenham General hospitals – whilst a team consisting of Southmead Hospital staff also took part.

The team from Gloucestershire Royal Hospital eventually finished as runners-up with the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust taking home the top prize.