Armed Forces personnel deployed to help Scottish Ambulance Service (Picture: MOD).
Armed Forces personnel deployed to help Scottish Ambulance Service (Picture: MOD).
Scotland

Military assistance to Scottish Ambulance Service ends

Armed Forces personnel deployed to help Scottish Ambulance Service (Picture: MOD).
Armed Forces personnel deployed to help Scottish Ambulance Service (Picture: MOD).

The head of the Scottish Ambulance Service has thanked troops who have been working with them as military support to the health service in Scotland comes to an end.

Chief executive Pauline Howie visited soldiers at Johnstone Ambulance Station in Renfrewshire who have been supporting the service over the winter months.

Her visit comes as the military aid to civil authority (MACA) support to the health service in Scotland for the coronavirus pandemic draws down.

The Army provided assistance to the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) when many drivers were forced to self-isolate. 

Pauline Howie said: "I was delighted to visit the troops at Johnstone to personally thank them for their support and I would like to extend this thanks to all the military personnel who have been deployed with SAS over the last six months.

"To hear that some are now keen to join the service is testament to our fantastic, dedicated staff who have been working tirelessly through the pandemic."

Sergeant Nina Dainese from 71 Engineer Regiment said: "I found it thoroughly fascinating, and I really enjoyed not only working with the ambulance crews but also interacting with the public.

"There was one elderly angler dressed in camouflage and who had a heart problem. We responded and when he became settled and spotted me in Army uniform he asked – are you an angler too?"

Most of the drivers were drawn from Army reserve regiments across Scotland and were released by their employers in order to help.  Scotland's Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: "The Scottish Ambulance Service is the heartbeat of our NHS and the assistance from our military personnel has proved invaluable over these challenging winter months.

"I would like to thank the Army as a whole and those who were deployed.

"Their help ensured the service had the support it needed to perform a crucial role."

The military has supported NHS Scotland throughout the pandemic with personnel assisting at COVID testing facilities and vaccination centres across the country.

Three RAF Super Puma helicopters were also deployed to Kinloss Barracks in June 2020 to help transfer patients from remote areas.