Covid Scotland: NHS Grampian becomes third health board to request help from the army

NHS Grampian has become the third health board known to have asked for support from the military.

NHS Borders and NHS Lanarkshire were last week granted military help by the government, with a total of 86 personnel deployed at least until November 10.

It is the first time the military will be used to support acute care in NHS Scotland.

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Dr Lewis Morrison, Chair of BMA Scotland, said the move “emphasises the seriousness and scale of the pressures on NHS services and frontline healthcare staff”, adding that things are “on a knife edge in the areas where this is happening.”

Members of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guard set up a Covid vaccination centre in Glasgow in January. The request to NHS Borders and Lanarkshire will be the first time soldiers are brought in to help with acute care. Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images.

NHS Grampian head of health intelligence, Jilly Evans, said she would welcome the same measures as the Borders and Lanarkshire. “I think many boards will feel the same way.

"The possibility of nursing staff would be really important to us. We’d back it up with some fantastic volunteers but having military support would be a real boost to us too.”Health secretary Humza Yousaf said the Scottish Government would look “favourably” on such requests.Speaking to the same programme, he said: “If that request comes in to the government, then of course we would look at that favourably.He added: “But you can imagine, the military is getting these requests from every single health board and NHS Trust across the entire United Kingdom.“So no doubt they are also stretched. But certainly, if a health board makes an approach to the government then we will certainly look to make an approach to the military for assistance.”The 86 troops deployed to NHS Borders and NHS Lanarkshire will join the 114 soldiers who have been working with the Scottish Ambulance Service since September, and the 111 general duties troops who have been helping with Covid testing.The Ministry of Defence has been approached for comment.

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