HM Coastguard lends helping hand with COVID-19 vaccination programme rollout

HM Coastguard is continuing to provide support to NHS Western Isles as part of the ongoing vaccination programme on the Outer Hebrides and NHS Highland, assisting in COVID-19 Testing in Skye and Lochaber.

Coastguard Rescue Service Teams and Duty Officers have been lending a helping hand at the mass vaccination clinics at Stornoway, Tarbert (Harris), Balivanish (Uist) and Castlebay (Barra) in the Western Isles.

This work has helped to ensure that the sites run effectively and smoothly for those people who are attending appointments for either their first or second doses of Coronavirus vaccines.

Coastguard teams are also providing a dedicated patient transport service to take those who would otherwise be unable to attend appointments, due to lack of transport, into these clinics. 

Coastguard Rescue Teams in Skye and Lochaber are also working closely and in partnership with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service at COVID-19 testing stations in Skye and Lochaber – helping to ease any logistical challenges. 

Murdo Macaulay, HM Coastguard Operations Area Commander for the Western Isles, Skye and Lochaber, said: “There’s so much community spirit in the Western Isles and it’s important that we do all we can to support the NHS with the successful Coronavirus vaccine rollout. 

“Our dedicated volunteer Coastguard Rescue Officers have been working hard for a number of months to not only ensure that the clinic is operating effectively, but also assist in the transportation of completed COVID-19 tests across the Western Isles chain and the provision of additional aid at testing sites.”

Murdo added: “We’re proud to be doing whatever we can to help people and the communities in which we serve during this difficult period of time and, as normal, we’re always ready to respond to incidents with our dedicated, 24/7 search and rescue service. I would really like to express my thanks and gratitude to all our teams and volunteers for their unwavering commitment to the cause.”

NHS Western Isles Chief Executive, Gordon Jamieson, said: “We are indebted to our partner agency colleagues, HM Coastguard, who have been an essential part of the team to deliver the vaccination programme in the Western Isles. It’s an enormous team effort to plan and deliver a mass vaccination clinic, and we are hugely grateful for their ongoing invaluable input and their continued support to the programme and to the patients attending.”

NHS Highland Chief Executive, Pam Dudek, said: “I am very grateful to everyone at our partner agencies, including HM Coastguard, for their hard work in supporting the COVID-19 response and for providing assistance to our local communities with the testing programme. Our HM Coastguard colleagues bring with them a wide range of specialised skills and their assistance is greatly appreciated.”

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