Furloughed pub staff should become frontline vaccinators, former Scottish Lib Dem leader says

Furloughed hospitality workers should become frontline vaccinators to stop the NHS being overwhelmed, a former leader of the Scottish Lib Dems has claimed.

Tavish Scott is calling on the Government to "marshal the energy and innovation of Scotland's private sector businesses" and hand the rollout a much-needed staffing boost.

Now chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, Mr Scott suggested the workers were the “army” Scotland needed.

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Writing in The Times, he said: “The hospitality sector has been ravaged by the coronavirus.

Furloughed hospitality workers should become frontline vaccinators to stop the NHS being overwhelmed, a former leader of the Scottish Lib Dems has claimed
Furloughed hospitality workers should become frontline vaccinators to stop the NHS being overwhelmed, a former leader of the Scottish Lib Dems has claimed

“Consider people who sell pies and coffee at a full Celtic Park or the hundreds of catering staff who look after the Christmas party season.

“Since March, few have been in work. Many are furloughed or unemployed.

“The hospitality profession is all about customer care, reassurance and a friendly face. This is an army of people that can be mobilised to meet Scotland's needs.”

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The former MSP admitted they would need training, but that the private sector was ready and willing to help.

Mr Scott said: “Instead of relying on enormously overstretched NHS staff to manage this critical lifesaving roll-out, government could call on logistics experts from industry, people whose day-to-day skills would lend themselves to resolving the inevitable challenges.

“It is now the job of government to focus on this and on nothing else.

“Business can help to get this done – mobilise all of Scotland to make the vaccine available for immunisation as quickly as it arrives.

“Scotland can lead the UK. At a time of national emergency, we must have all hands on deck.”

This week First Minister Nicola Sturgeon paved the way for pubs being used as vaccination centres after the boss of BrewDog offered the chain’s empty premises to help.

James Watt, who co-founded the Aberdeenshire brewer, said staff could help to organise the sites and the vaccines could be stored in “huge refrigerators”.

A spokeswoman for BrewDog said: “We are excited to work with the government to do all we can to help with a fast and effective vaccine rollout and we would like to thank Nicola Sturgeon for getting in touch so quickly.”

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