Military personnel will deploy to support Scottish Ambulance Service

A request for military assistance was approved by the UK Government.

Military personnel will deploy to support Scottish Ambulance Service iStock
The Ministry of Defence will provide 114 people to augment ambulance drivers.

Hundreds of military personnel will be deployed to support the Scottish Ambulance Service.

The UK Government approved the support through the Military Assistance to the Civil Authority (MACA) process.

It comes after a request from the Scotland Office, working with the Scottish Government, to tackle long response times, with the ambulance service under severe pressure due to the pandemic.

Last week at Holyrood, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that consideration was being given to asking for targeted military assistance to help with “short-term pressure points”.

It has now been confirmed that from Saturday, the Ministry of Defence will provide 114 people to augment ambulance drivers.

This will include drivers and support staff, who will provide resilience to the Scottish Ambulance Service by carrying out non-emergency driving work, with each being paired with a clinical professional.

A further 111 personnel will operate Mobile Testing Units, which the military previously supported in 2020.

They will be utilised to help identify infections and break chains of transmission, with their work beginning on Wednesday, September 29.

Brigadier Ben Wrench, commander of Joint Military Command Scotland said: “The Armed Forces in Scotland continue to support the Scottish Government’s response to the pandemic.

“We are working closely with the Scottish Government and Scottish Ambulance Service, following their requests for assistance with drivers and Mobile Testing Units.”

UK defence secretary Ben Wallace praised the lifesaving service being provided by members of the Armed forces.

“Our Armed Forces are once again stepping up, demonstrating their versatility as we support the Covid-19 response across the UK,” he said.

“We are proud to work alongside the dedicated men and women at the Scottish Ambulance Service as they continue to provide a lifesaving service to the people of Scotland.

“Our commitment to provide rapid support to communities and civil authorities is being delivered alongside the deployment of thousands of personnel on operations around the world.”

Scottish secretary Alister Jack said that the dedication and professionalism of those being deployed will be “invaluable”.

“Our fantastic British Armed Forces have played a key role in the fight against Covid-19 across the UK and it is admirable to see them once supporting crucial public services in Scotland in times of need,” he said.

“The dedication and professionalism of the 225 personnel being deployed will be invaluable for the Scottish Ambulance Service and Covid Mobile Testing Units. 

“We are grateful for all their efforts to keep us safe. As we have continued to see throughout the pandemic, the strength of the union and support offered by the UK Government has never been more important.”

On Tuesday, the Scottish Government announced that an additional £20m of funding will be invested in the Scottish Ambulance Service to help improve response times.

Scottish health secretary had earlier indicated that the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will be brought in to support the ambulance service.