DOCTORS and nurses used to battling blood, sweat and tears on every shift went up against another bone-chilling element: mud.

A total of 11 staff from Great Western Hospital pushed through a series of health-sapping military tasks at the three-day South West NHS Military Challenge.

The event saw them tackle a host of different exercises, like rifle shooting and a military-style obstacle course, that would not look out of place in a soldier’s basic training.

The challenge, which was organised by 243 (Wessex) Field Hospital on behalf of the Defence Medical Services, was held on Dartmoor Training Area.

Swindon’s finest faced up against 15 other NHS trusts and hospitals. The challenge is billed as an opportunity for NHS staff to work together and build relationships in an environment that they’d never normally experience together. Organisers say the three-day event pushes participants to their physical, mental and emotional limits.

Leading the Great Western “Warriors” team was Annette Baskerville, who as matron of the GWH emergency department is no stranger to a bit of hard work.

Speaking ahead of the event, Annette said: “We are very excited, if a bit nervous in view of the weather forecast for the weekend, and are all so pleased to be representing the trust at the event.

“The weekend is all about working together and it will be a great experience to work with staff from so many different departments.

“It’s also a great way to get involved with something different and learn more about the Armed Forces. We can’t wait to see what they have in store for us.”

Unfortunately, the other NHS trusts had more in the store than GWH. The brave Great Western Warriors finished 10th out of 15 teams. It was super-fit staff from the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust who ultimately topped the leaderboard.

The annual South West NHS Military Challenge is now in its third year. The three-day exercise is staffed by over a hundred volunteers from army, navy and RAF reserve forces.

To see all the pictures from the event, visit: