Hundreds of firefighters, military and taxi drivers will be mobilized to help bail out the crisis-stricken Scottish ambulance service from this weekend as part of a package of ‘decisive and unconventional actions to save Lives”.
Details were confirmed days after Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon sent a request for help from the military to reduce a backlog on service which saw a man die at home after waiting 40 hours for paramedics.
Shocking delays in medical aid have been reported across the country.
Ms Sturgeon finally admitted on Tuesday that the Scottish NHS was in ‘crisis’ following the publication of the worst A&E statistics on record and calls to address a shortage of 1,000 acute beds.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf confirmed to Parliament that more than 100 hundred military personnel will be deployed across Scotland from Saturday morning, including 88 drivers and 15 support staff, to help support paramedics.
A few minutes later, the Department of Defense (MoD) intervened to confirm that the true number is 225.
Another 111 workers are being asked to operate mobile test units during a recovery last year, when the military supported sites during the height of the pandemic.
When asked for clarification on the final number of employees, the Scottish government said the Defense Ministry would ultimately decide how many employees are deployed.
Treat Holyrood “with contempt”
Mr Yousaf was also reprimanded by President Alison Johnstone before making his statement for publicly revealing the details of the plan before updating the PSMs.
The health secretary apologized but was accused of treating Holyrood “with contempt” and warned that further violations could see ministers denied the opportunity to make a statement in parliament.
Yousaf confirmed that some firefighters will be redeployed to help drive ambulances in a bid to contain the crisis, with taxis being used in other cases to transport non-critically ill patients who do not require emergency transport.
He said around 100 second-year paramedics will also be invited to help in ambulance control rooms, while the number of hospital liaison officers in the busiest A&E will be increased with the aim of admit patients more quickly.
Help in the Highlands
Some 14 additional staff will be recruited to reduce custody needs in Campbeltown and completely eliminate them in Fort William, Kirkwall and Broadford.
Immediate work to create temporary admission rooms in hospitals will also take place.
Yousaf, who said the measures would be paid for as part of a Â£ 20million investment package already announced in the NHS stimulus package, confirmed the plan would result in a net increase of nearly 300 members of ambulance service personnel by April 2022.
Support will focus on services provided in Fife, the Highlands and Islands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Lanarkshire and Ayrshire and Arran.
“I have contacted the Scottish Fire and Rescue Services and am happy to say, and typically they have responded to our call,” Mr Yousaf told MSPs.
âThey will increase the ambulance service’s access to volunteer firefighters and now also full-time firefighters for driving, again with the goal of providing more valuable time for paramedics and frontline technicians.
âHowever, immediate help is not only sought from the wider public sector.
“We have also provided support from both the British Red Cross and private contractors, such as taxi companies, to help with some of the work of the ambulance service where no emergency ambulance is required. . “
Time to wake up ‘
The Prime Minister was challenged by opposition parties to “wake up” and deal with the “spiraling crisis” facing the NHS as it updated the MSPs on Tuesday.
Earlier today, calls were made for the health secretary to âanswer for his workâ in the face of the growing list of problems.
Conservative health spokesperson Dr Sandesh Gulhane, who has continued to work part-time as a general practitioner since her election, told Ms Sturgeon that health services are now at “breaking point”.
The Prime Minister said the health service was facing “crisis conditions resulting from a global pandemic” – but stressed that was also the case in the rest of the UK.
She also warned that “it will be the hardest winter the NHS has faced in any of our memories.”
Dr Gulhane said the “shocking” wait times, which have reached the longest on record in Scotland under SNP surveillance, are putting lives at risk.
“Behind each of these appalling statistics are patients and their families who are suffering, but the Prime Minister doesn’t think this is a crisis, one way or another, she won’t admit. reality and won’t say that word, âhe said.
âWake up, the Scottish NHS is at breaking point. It’s a crisis. “
Scottish Labor will lead a debate on Wednesday on “the Scottish government’s lack of urgent response” to Holyrood.
The party is calling for temporary services and field hospitals to ease pressure on the NHS and the adoption of a maximum turnaround time of 30 minutes for ambulances from when they arrive at the hospital.