Unite Scotland has today (3 February) welcomed the decision by the Scottish government to prioritise the NHS24 workforce for the COVID-19 vaccination programme following pressure from the nation’s leading trade union. 

Following a call with Scottish government officials today, it was confirmed that around 1650 workers employed at NHS24 will now be prioritised for the vaccination programme. The latest u-turn comes after a previous decision on 19 January to prioritise around 500 workers employed by the Scottish Ambulance Service as control room handlers for the programme. Both NHS24 and SAS control staff were initially informed by the Scottish government that they were not ‘patient facing’ and did not qualify for the immediate prioritisation of the vaccination programme. 

Unite Scottish Secretary, Pat Rafferty, said: “Unite is delighted that due to our pressure the NHS24 workforce will now be prioritised for the vaccination programme. This follows a previous u-turn by the Scottish government over the control room workers at the Scottish Ambulance Service. Without these workers the nation doesn’t have an effective emergency response service. This is a massive relief for the workers at NHS24 and we continue to applaud the dedicated service they provide during these challenging times.”