SCOTLAND’s response to the pandemic has been given a funding boost with an award of more than £37 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The award to NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) helped secure tens of millions of items of PPE in the face of continued high global demand.
Millions of PPE items were purchased with the award, vital supplies which were used to protect NHS staff as they treated patients and saved lives in communities across the country.
The Scottish Government, which is the managing authority of the ERDF programme, approved the award at the end of May in recognition of the exceptional circumstances during the global Covid-19 pandemic.
While we may no longer be a member of the EU, under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement the UK remains eligible for its full allocation of structural and other EU funds from the 2014-2020 budget round.
Projects supported in this cycle did not have to be completed by the end of 2020 and funding claims for those supported by the EU can be submitted until the end of 2023.
Gordon Beattie, director of national procurement at NHS NSS, said: “We are delighted to have received this funding award from the European Regional Development Fund.
“Our national procurement teams have ensured this money has been spent wisely, achieving maximum value for our NHS and maximum benefit for our health and care colleagues.
“We will continue to work closely with Scottish Government and with all relevant partners to support Scotland’s NHS and our social care colleagues.”
Minister for just transition, employment and fair work, Richard Lochhead (above), added: “In normal times the ERDF programme would support projects that promote smart and sustainable growth, so our decision to award more than £37m to help purchase PPE for NHS workers is unique.
“It reveals how the pandemic has changed what we think of as normal – and that the Scottish Government is prepared to adapt its approach to help Scotland’s economic and social recovery.
“Thanks to this ERDF award, tens of millions of items of PPE were procured to protect healthcare workers from Covid-19.
“Though we are approaching the end of the programming period of European Structural Funds, they remain as important as ever.
“Hundreds of projects up and down the country that support services, businesses and vulnerable people depend on European funding.
“We will continue to maximise remaining funding to help Scotland recover from the pandemic and build a fairer future for all.”