Humiliated SNP forced to call in British Army to help bail out Covid vaccine rollout

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NHS health boards across Scotland issued an urgent plea for military help to the Scottish Government as the booster vaccination campaign gets underway. NHS Lothian, NHS Ayrshire & Arran and NHS Lanarkshire which covers a population area of 1.82 million Scots have all put in pleas for additional help.


The Scottish Mail on Sunday also reported Scotland’s eight other health boards had also requested assistance.

It comes as the latest data revealed the vaccine rollout north of the border slowed in recent weeks with 458,000 people out of 2.8 million eligible receiving their booster jab.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said Britain’s troops were ready to help the SNP-led Scottish Government to deliver to the booster jabs to prevent a growing health crisis.

Mr Wallace, added: “Our Armed Forces have again demonstrated that when support is needed across the country, they stand ready to help.

“The transferable, professional skills which our Armed Forces personnel have consistently demonstrated throughout the pandemic continue to provide vital support for our public services.”

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack, added: “Our fantastic British Armed Forces have been front and centre in communities right across Scotland from the very start of the pandemic.”

It is expected the military deployment will take place next week with NHS Lothian receiving five personnel whilst NHS Lanarkshire said they requested 18 staff including 15 vaccinators.

Professor Hazel Borland, Interim Chief Executive of NHS Ayrshire and Arran, added of their plans: “As part of ongoing and fluid plans to mitigate the current pressures, we can confirm we have submitted a request for short-term military assistance to support the vaccination delivery programme, which is currently under consideration.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson declined to comment on the number of military personnel who would be involved.

But they added: “We are still working with our military colleagues in respect of a request for military vaccinators to support the seasonal flu and Covid-19 booster campaign.

“It is important that due diligence on all requests for military assistance is carried out.”

The revelation is the latest in the emerging crisis in Scotland’s health service after the nation’s largest NHS board warned patients to attend A&E for “life-threatening” issues only.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) issued the appeal to stay away after it emerged a third of the attendances in one week at its flagship Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in the city were for minor injuries.

It came as neighbouring NHS Lanarkshire moved to the highest risk level and cancelled various planned procedures, including cancer operations.

The unprecedented Code Black situation is down to “relentless pressures” on staffing levels and lack of beds across three of its hospitals.

Elective surgery has been called off, while patients have been told to prepare for long waiting times at “overwhelmed” emergency departments.

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The military has already been drafted in to help, but bosses warned the situation was showing “no signs” of easing.

Emergency departments across Scotland have been stretched in recent weeks, along with the ambulance service, prompting requests for support from the military and the fire service.

SNP ministers are also still yet to meet a key election pledge on vaccinations.

The Nats pledged during their first 100 days of their new administration to complete “the vaccination of all adults, subject to supply” by September 12.

But only 87 percent of Scots or 3,872,639 have had both COVID-19 jabs, the latest data from Public Health Scotland revealed.

Meanwhile, 4,097,889 people have received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccination, which represents 92.3 percent of the adult population.

SNP ministers have also still not met a target set in June by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Ms Sturgeon told MSPs in June everyone aged 30 to 39 would get the vital second dose of the vaccine by August 20.

But as of yesterday, only 76.3 percent of the age group had received both doses.

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