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Coronavirus / Army officers on hand to help health board during pandemic

Gilbert Bain Hospital. Photo: Shetland News

TWO liaison officers from the army are working with NHS Shetland to help with “operational and logistical challenges” during the coronavirus pandemic in areas like patient transfers and organising personal protective equipment.

Armed forces personnel have been supporting the UK’s response to coronavirus and two military liaison officers have been sent north to assist Shetland’s health board.

NHS Shetland chief executive Michael Dickson explained that one of their roles is to ensure patient transfers to intensive care on the Scottish mainland – like the two RAF flights in recent weeks – run as smoothly as possible.

The RAF Airbus A400M touching down at Sumburgh Airport on Monday morning. Photo: Ronnie Robertson

They are also on hand to assist with organising the health board’s personal protective equipment.

“We have two military liaison officers, James and Graham, who are from the army,” Dickson said in a Facebook live video this week.

“They are here to support us, and they are focusing on a number of operational and logistical challenges.

“You might see them about – they’re wearing their full kit, give them a wave, they’re really nice chaps.

“They are helping us with this sort of patient transfer [the RAF airlifts] to make sure it is slick and smooth and moves as quickly as we possible, bearing in mind there can be an extended time period.

“But also, as importantly, to help us with personal protective equipment to make sure that we’ve got the right stuff in the right place for all of the right people.”

Across Scotland, the military have been undertaking a variety of roles.

This includes supporting healthcare professionals to deliver testing, such as at Glasgow Airport.

RAF helicopters are also stationed at Kinloss to assist with patient transfers.

Defence minister Baroness Goldie said: “We are proud be supporting public services across the United Kingdom and our soldiers, sailors, airmen and women will continue to do whatever is required of us in Scotland.”

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