Hundreds of military personnel are deployed to aid Scotland’s Covid-19 response
The UK Government has approved assistance under the Military Assistance to the Civil Authority (MACA) process at the request of the Scotland Office in collaboration with the Scottish Government. The Department of Defense is providing 114 people to reinforce ambulance drivers and another 111 people who will operate mobile test units that the military previously supported in 2020.
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said:
“Our forces are re-strengthening and showing their versatility as we support the response to Covid-19 across the UK. We are proud to work with the dedicated men and women of the Scottish Ambulance Service to continue providing life saving services to the people of Scotland.
“Our commitment to providing rapid relief to communities and civil authorities is being fulfilled, along with the dedication of thousands of employees to operations around the world.”
114 employees, including drivers and support staff, will add resilience to the Scottish Ambulance Service by performing non-emergency driving tasks, and each will be paired with a clinical professional. They will begin their function on September 25th and are expected to be in use for a few months. Support will be focused on the central belt of Scotland, notably Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Fife and Edinburgh.
Alister Jack, Scottish Secretary, said:
“Our fantastic British Armed Forces have played a key role in the fight against Covid-19 across the UK and it is admirable that they have supported important public services in Scotland in times of need.
“The dedication and professionalism of the 225 employees will be of inestimable value for the Scottish Ambulance Service and Covid’s mobile test units.
“We are grateful for all of your efforts to protect us. As we have seen throughout the pandemic, the strength of the Union and the support offered by the UK government has never been more important. “
A further 111 service employees, including 2 Scots, are deployed to support the continuous provision of mobile test units in order to identify infections and interrupt transmission chains. The military has extensive experience setting up and running testing programs across the UK, including last year in Scotland. Support will be provided primarily in Glasgow and Edinburgh and the staff will be up and running by Wednesday 29 September.
Brigadier General Ben Wrench, in command of the 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 the Scottish Ambulance Service to respond to their requests for assistance with drivers and mobile test units.
“Our servicemen and women, who come from units in Scotland and elsewhere, always take pride in supporting the NHS and other emergency services. Occasions like these allow the armed forces to demonstrate their adaptability and teamwork in supporting local communities. “
The military has assisted Scottish communities in responding to Covid-19 throughout the pandemic through the MACA process, including military liaison officers who have worked with local resilience teams and the Scottish government. The military also advised on the construction of the NHS Louisa Jordan facility in central Glasgow, setting up testing programs and most recently running vaccination centers across Scotland where armed forces vaccinated over 100,000 people. The military was also involved in logistics and planning support. The armed forces stand ready to augment and support civil agencies, decentralized nations and communities as needed in the coming months.