Britain is sending a hospital ship to the Persian Gulf next month. Actually, the 12,500 ton HMS Argus is a dual use ship. In peacetime, it's a helicopter training ship. In wartime, a "hospital pod" is bolted to the deck, 120 medical staff are put aboard and the Argus becomes a 50 bed hospital ship. The Argus will be available for the most difficult medical cases, flying the casualties by helicopter. A larger U.S. hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, recently departed for the Indian ocean, but without it's 1200 medical personnel. These will be flown out when war is imminent. Like the British, the medical staff for the hospital ships are drawn from military hospitals.