British Army leads largest peacetime resilience operation ever undertaken
The Scottish Government has enlisted the help of the British Army to help organise its COVID-19 vaccination programme
The British Army is establishing 80 new COVID-19 vaccine centres for NHS Scotland, as part of the largest peacetime resilience operation ever undertaken by the UK Armed Forces.
Ninety-eight soldiers, mainly from the Leuchars-based Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, will support NHS Scotland over the next 28 days.
Organised into 11 vaccination centre set-up teams spread across Scotland, the soldiers’ remit is to support the Scottish Government, NHS Scotland, and local authorities in operationalising vaccination centre sites.
They will use their logistical, organisational and clinical expertise to establish the vaccine centres, before handing them over to NHS Scotland to deliver its vaccination programme.
The Armed Forces are operating across the length and breadth of the country, using their unique skillset to ensure the vaccine reaches the very fingertips of the United Kingdom
Involving personnel from the Royal Army Medical Corps, the military team from Fife will survey suggested sites for suitability, then organise car parking and traffic flow systems, establish patient recording methods and practices, facilitate vaccine delivery to the sites, prepare storage for medicines and equipment, and conduct a smooth handover to NHS Scotland.
Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, said: “The Armed Forces are operating across the length and breadth of the country, using their unique skillset to ensure the vaccine reaches the very fingertips of the United Kingdom.
“Our work supporting the new vaccine sites in Scotland complements the extensive preparation and planning the military are already conducting to support the vaccine rollout programme.
“Using the logistical expertise of military personnel, honed in warzones around the world, frees up NHS Scotland and local authorities to continue to focus on administering the initial 900,000 doses provided to Scotland by the UK Government in January.”
Scottish Secretary, Alister Jack, added: “For us all, vaccines are the light at the end of the tunnel and I’m very pleased that the expertise of the British Armed Forces is helping the Scottish Government get vaccines into arms as quickly as possible.
Using the logistical expertise of military personnel, honed in warzones around the world, frees up NHS Scotland and local authorities to continue to focus on administering the initial 900,000 doses provided to Scotland by the UK Government
“The UK Government is supplying and paying for vaccines for the whole of the UK – and it is now vital these doses are administered as soon as possible.”
UK military support to the Scottish authorities is commanded and controlled by the Joint Military Command staff of 20 personnel in Stirling. This team is directing the 96 troops as they deploy from Leuchars in 11 teams to set up the 80 vaccine centres across Scotland – from Wick to Wigtown, as required.
And there are a further 32 UK military planners working in support of the Scottish Government team in St Andrews House, Edinburgh, and across Scotland’s 14 health boards.