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As England prepares to celebrate national Armed Forces Day on Saturday, Queen’s Hospital is thanking its own military hero.

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Resuscitation Officer Peter Rawcliffe, 42, doesn’t just spend his time saving lives at the Romford hospital, he also shares his time and medical expertise with the Territorial Army (TA).

Peter trains soldiers - including those about to head to the front line in Afghanistan - on resuscitation techniques.

He uses the same skill at Queen’s, teaching trust staff how to resuscitate patients, and is on-call to rush to a ward and provide life-saving treatment if a patient goes into cardiac arrest.

Captain Peter, as he is known in the TA, has been committed to the forces for 18 years. “It’s like having two careers side by side,” he said. “They each complement each other. A lot of the skills I learn with the TA are transferable to my day job for the NHS.”

Colleagues at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust are extremely supportive of Peter’s “double life” and army commitments.

“I spend quite a lot of time with the TA, but I feel like my managers want to help me to help the troops.”

Whilst mandatory training starts from 19 days each year, Peter spends around 100 days a year with the TA.

The courses and training he has undertaken with the TA have helped Peter’s NHS career to progress quickly.

And there have been plenty of opportunities to travel the globe. Through his career in the TA Peter has journeyed to Germany, France, Norway, Canada and Kenya, where he underwent jungle training and ran vaccination clinics for local communities.

His colleagues in the TA have trained in other glamorous locations such as mountain training in the Grand Canyon, diving in Sri Lanka and skiing in The French Alps.

Peter, from Romford, also had the opportunity to take time out of his NHS career for a three-year secondment to work with the army’s Intelligence Corps. During his time there, his activities helped to prevent drug smuggling.

Now Peter wants to encourage others to join the TA. He said: “Give it a go. I left school with no qualifications and I’m now a Captain! Anything is achievable; the good times completely outweigh the bad. There are such great opportunities to learn and travel, that being a TA soldier sells itself.”

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