Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that the British Army are to be called in to help NHS Scotland amid a major staffing and waiting time crisis.

Nicola Sturgeon Said:

“Our ambulance pressure is working under acute pressure right now, largely due to covid. I want to take the time to thank our paramedics and technicians for the work they are doing in such difficult circumstances. While they are responding to these challenges, I recognise that some people are not getting the standards of service they should be getting, or the standard the ambulance service wants to deliver. I apologise unreservedly to anyone who has suffered or who is suffering unacceptably long waits. A range of actions have already been taken to address these challenges.

For example, additional funding to support new recruitment. And additional actions are under active consideration. I can confirm this includes consideration of seeking targeted military assistance to help deal with short-term pressure points.Such assistance is already being provided to ambulance services in England and, of course, we have had military assistance for other aspects of the pandemic in the last 18 months.”

The Ministry of Defence spokesperson said:

“The Ministry of Defence has received a request from the Scottish Government under the Military Aid to Civilian Authority process. We are working hard to identify where we can most effectively assist other government departments and civil authorities.”

GMB Scotland organiser Drew Duffy said:

“The understaffing crisis in the ambulance service was already understood pre-covid, but what the pandemic has done is make a bad situation worse – to the point we now need the army. The Scottish Government told us the NHS was prepared from the outset of the pandemic, but PPE failures, testing challenges, and now rising pressures on waiting times tell a very different story. Staff are beyond breaking-point and we need to urgently invest in them so we can retain and recruit the people needed to deliver this service on which we all depend.”

As we reported previously, the military is already in use helping four ambulance trusts in England due to high demand and staffing shortage. BBC News previously reported that almost 100 members of the Army will be used to work alongside NHS staff. Military personnel from the 12th and 16th Royal Artillery regiment arrived at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in January in order to work with the portering teams.

More than 100 porters work at the hospital and play an important role in the smooth running of all services. From moving patients, managing waste, delivering pharmacy products and ensuring departments have the vital equipment they need to care for patients in the hospital.

Terece Walters, Clinical Director of Facilities and Engineering, said:

“We’re delighted to welcome the British Army at the County hospital. Porters provide a crucial service to every aspect of the hospital. The military support will be invaluable to our teams who play an important role in keeping the hospital running.”

It is hoped that additional clinical and support staff would speed up movement throughout hospitals, assessing and moving patients quicker, freeing up ambulance crews.

 

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Rob
Rob
25 days ago

I’m sure the British military will do everything they can to help Scotland in their time of need. Seems Covid is through the roof in the greater Glasgow area and aid to the civil power is a key military objective. All this and deter Russia, chase ISIS and prepare for war with 70,000 odd soldiers? The Army is at least 40,000 too small!

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
21 days ago
Reply to  Rob

I fully agree. The army is stretched way too thin to do this stuff as well as the day job.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
25 days ago

In other news. RAF Typhoons will start operating with the Lightning 5 pod before Christmas 👍The Army will do a fantastic job with the Ambulance service, as they always do 🇬🇧

Jason M Holmes
Jason M Holmes
25 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

We sorely need a RAPTOR EO pod replacement. US Air Force abandoned tactical recce pods some years back and now in the process of reinstating the ability after they realised satellite imagery wasn’t as capable as needed.

andy
andy
25 days ago

so she wants the army to help in a time of crisis but yet won,t give them any tax relief so the mod is picking up the difference, just so service personnel can have some sort of wage in Scotland, i would have been tempted to tell her to cut the tax for them before any help is given

John Clark
John Clark
25 days ago
Reply to  andy

Without being tempted to get back in to the old SNP/ UK bun fight, just why is Covid getting out of hand in Scotland in particular?

Have a lot of people not been vaccinated?

Why does the Scottish NHS always seem to be in a state of crisis?

andy
andy
25 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

probably due to lack of spending, because unlike England we have to pay for prescriptions if your working, in Scotland it,s free from what i heard so thats a big expense from the NHS pot, either that or just simple bad management, a lot of people running NHS and health trusts have no idea about the health care but yet are paid big bucks

Jonathan
Jonathan
25 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Respiratory disease are aways a bit hit and miss as to why and when they have waves. But probably the following aid the disease. 1) The schools in Scotland went back a week before England, that’s a major opportunity to spread. 2) poverty and respiratory disease goes hand in hand ( housing, diet, education, the jobs we do all play a part) 3) temperature and weather ( respiratory virus love the cold and hate the sun). but on afraid the truth is the whole of the UKs health and social care system is now in a state of utter and… Read more »

Matt C
Matt C
25 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Indeed. Not just from the healthcare end but also from a finance point of view, the past 2 years have basically been roughly equivalent to a “real” shooting war (per LSE, comparable to WW2 in certain impacts). I think few johnnys-on-the-street realise this, and I blame the various politicians on all sides for not stressing to the public that we, all of us, should be operating in a “London blitz, gasmasks and dad’s army out” mindset.

Chris
Chris
24 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

As someone who works for one of the devolved public health agencies, I second this. I’ve been working 10/11/12 hour days 6 days a week since Feb 2020. I took three days annual leave in the whole of 2020, two of those were in January and the other was in September to attend the funeral of a colleague who died after contracting covid on the job. I had my first leave of 2021 at the end of July. I took three days off. On the one hand I feel that I shouldn’t complain, I am after all working in one… Read more »