NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Borders will continue to receive help from army personnel

The army will continue helping two health boards with acute services after their request for the assistance to be extended was approved by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Army personnel were called in to help NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Borders in October amid pressures on the health service.

A request by the health boards to extend the acute services Military Aid to the Civilian Authority (MACA) task, which was originally due to last until Wednesday, has now been approved by the MoD, the army said.

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In total 84 personnel will continue with the work, with 21 personnel in the Borders and 63 in Lanarkshire.

Army personnel had already been called upon to help the Scottish Ambulance Service and is now helping two health boards.

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The tasks are expected to run until December 8 in the Borders and December 17 in Lanarkshire, with the timelines kept under regular review.

The army are also supporting the Scottish Ambulance Service with non-emergency drivers and delivering testing through mobile units.

An army spokesman said: "More than 450 Armed Forces personnel are supporting multiple MACA tasks in Scotland. These tasks fall under Operation Rescript, defence's efforts to support the UK's response to the pandemic which began in March 2020.

"Defence have supported communities across the UK throughout the pandemic from planning support alongside resilience teams and governments, to ambulance drivers and health care assistants in hospitals as well as the vaccine rollout.

"The Armed Forces stand ready to step up and support civil authorities, devolved nations and communities as required in the coming months where the requests meet the MACA principles."

The extension comes as the latest daily coronavirus figures showed Scotland had recorded 17 Covid-linked deaths and 3,349 new cases in the 24 hours to Friday.

It means the death toll under this daily measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – is 9,375.

The daily test positivity rate was 9.8 per cent, up from 8.2 per cent the previous day.

There were 759 people in hospital on Thursday with recently confirmed Covid-19, down nine, with 55 in intensive care, down five.

So far, 4,325,523 people have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination and 3,922,893 have had their second.

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