The armed forces have just 40 paramedics who would be qualified to work in the NHS, the Government has disclosed.
Defence minister Andrew Murrison said that of the 107 paramedics serving in the military, 40 have the qualification requirements set out by the Health and Care Professions Council.
The details, set out in a written answer to Liberal Democrat health spokeswoman Daisy Cooper, were disclosed as ministers prepare to deploy troops to cover for striking ambulance staff.
“The Government has got to sort this out now before people’s lives are put at risk. Their patchwork plan to keep ambulance services running has filled the public with anxiety about the days to come,” she said.
“Emergency health services have already been starved of funding by this Government leading to dangerously high waiting times, and will now be plunged into even more chaos if these strikes go ahead.”
Ambulance crews in England are due to walk out for two days on December 21 and 28 in support of their pay claim.
It is understood that troops are unlikely to be used to drive ambulances to respond to urgent calls although they could be used for non-urgent cases to free up paramedics.