Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock and Scottish Secretary Alister Jack have today praised the collaboration between the English and Scottish NHS ambulance services – showcasing the strength of the union as the UK continues to battle the pandemic.

As of Saturday (23 January), a third of Scottish ambulance calls are being taken by centres in England, following a high level of staff absence for call handlers in the Scottish Ambulance Service related to Covid-19.

Five services in England are providing this ongoing mutual aid to Scotland: West Midlands Ambulance Service, North West Ambulance Service, East Midlands Ambulance Service, South Western Ambulance Service and South East Coast Ambulance Service.

They are taking 999 calls from BT, triaging them and providing pre-arrival advice.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, said:

“Throughout the pandemic we have worked closely across the UK in a united front against this virus. This ambulance service collaboration is another example of the national health service working across the whole country in a spirit of mutual aid – offering support when it’s needed.

“From vaccines to ambulance services, we are stronger together across the UK in the fight against this pandemic.”

Scottish Secretary, Alister Jack said:

“Collaboration between English and Scottish NHS ambulance services illustrates the whole of the UK pulling together to benefit every part of the Union. This mutual aid is vitally important, with services ready and able to support each other.

“The fight against the coronavirus is a truly national effort. From the furlough scheme to vaccine procurement and the backing of our military personnel, the UK Government is committed to delivering for all parts of the UK.”