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NHS acute services call in the army amid lengthening waiting lists and short-staffing

Nurses, army medics and general troops will shore-up services in two Scottish regions
Military nurses will deploy to NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Borders due to staff shortages and treatment backlogs

Nurses, army medics and general troops will shore-up services in NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Borders, while Grampian board waits to hear if its staff will get help too

Military nurses and other personnel are being called in by NHS providers struggling with staff shortages and demand for services.

Five nurses are among the 86 personnel being dispatched to NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Borders in Scotland to support staff efforts to cut rising waiting times for acute services. Managers in NHS Grampian have submitted a request for similar help.

Army medics, general troops, drivers and organisers will be deployed from 19 October for at least three weeks.

Nurses, army medics and general troops will shore-up services in NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Borders, while Grampian board waits to hear if its staff will get help too

Military nurses will deploy to NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Borders due to staff shortages and treatment backlogs
Picture: John Houlihan

Military nurses and other personnel are being called in by NHS providers struggling with staff shortages and demand for services.

Five nurses are among the 86 personnel being dispatched to NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Borders in Scotland to support staff efforts to cut rising waiting times for acute services. Managers in NHS Grampian have submitted a request for similar help.

Army medics, general troops, drivers and organisers will be deployed from 19 October for at least three weeks.

The military deployment in Scotland’s health service

Signage for NHS Lanarkshire, one of the boards whered military nurses will deploy
Picture: Alamy
  • NHS Lanarkshire
    3 army nurses
    45 medics
    12 general duty troops
    3 drivers
  • NHS Borders
    2 nurses
    14 medics
    4 additional military personnel
    1 driver

A further two military medics will oversee operations from the army’s Scottish headquarters.

Minister blames COVID-19 admissions, staff absence and backlog from pandemic

Both health boards recorded their poorest performances in accident and emergency waiting times in August, when 780 (28.8%) patients in Borders and 5,992 (32.5%) in Lanarkshire had to wait longer than the target of four hours to be seen.

Scotland health secretary Humza Yousaf said staff shortages due to COVID-19 were affecting bed capacity. He added: ‘The NHS is experiencing significant pressure because of COVID-19 admissions and the backlog in care built up during the pandemic. We are taking a range of steps to introduce additional capacity in order to help with the unprecedented pressures on the health and care system.’

‘Scottish government must fund fair pay rise for nurses’

Julie Lamberth, board chair of RCN Scotland said: 'It is a real concern that some health boards require support from military staff even before the busy winter period has begun.

‘Our members are telling us that because of record-high nursing vacancies, staff are under huge pressure and are exhausted and frustrated.

'This extra support will be welcomed by NHS staff but it is not a long-term solultion. The Scottish Government must fully implement safe staffing legislation and fund a fair pay rise for nursing staff.’

The deployment comes less than a month after the army was asked to drive ambulances in a bid to cut response times.


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