NICOLA Sturgeon has announced the military are to be called in to help Scotland's under pressure Ambulance Service.

The First Minister told MSPs of the move after hearing of Gerard Brown in Glasgow who died after waiting 40 hours for an ambulance following a collapse in his home.

She told Holyrood that the service to the 65-year-old pensioner was "unacceptable" as she passed on her condolences to his son.

A separate report also told today how an 86-year-old woman was forced to wait eight hours for an ambulance after she blacked out at home and suffered a double fracture to her hip.

Lilian Briggs was finally taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary but her children do not believe she had to wait at the hospital to get in.

The National:

Retired engineer Gerard Brown, pictured, died at his Glasgow home after waiting 40 hours for an ambulance.

"The individual cases reported in the media this morning obviously require to be fully and properly investigated," she said. "What is reported is unacceptable."

She added that the ambulance service was working under significant pressures, largely due to Covid and thanked the paramedics for their work.

"While they are responding heroically to these challenges I recognise that some people are not getting the standard of service ... and I apologise to anyone who is suffering."

She said the waiting times for some patients were “not acceptable”, adding: “I apologise unreservedly to anyone that has suffered or is suffering unacceptably long waits.

“A range of actions have already been taken to address these challenges, for example additional funding to support new recruitment.

“A number of additional actions are currently under active consideration, and I’m happy to summarise these in further exchanges, but I can confirm now that this includes consideration of seeking targeted military assistance to help deal with short-term pressure points.

“Such military assistance is already being provided to ambulance services in England, and of course we have had military assistance for other aspects of the pandemic over the past 18 months.”

Her initial comments were made after she was asked at First Minister's Questions about Gerard Brown's death by Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar also used his question in the chamber to ask about the ambulance service.

He pressed her on the details about when the army would be called in.

Responding, the First Minister said the request to the military was currently being finalised.

"We are actively considering the detail of the request for targeted military assistance. Since it is important that we make that request in detail so we know exactly what it is we are requesting from the military and that is currently being prepared right now."

During the exchanges she told MSPs the Scottish NHS was facing "the most challenging winter of our lifetimes" and said the ambulance service was currently operating at its highest level of escalation.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman later told The National: “The Ministry of Defence has received a request from Scottish Government under the Military Aid to Civilian Authority process.

"We are working hard to identify where we can most effectively assist other government departments and civil authorities.”

The Herald revealed today that an investigation is underway after Gerard Brown who was found collapsed at his home in Glasgow died following the 40 hour ambulance wait.

His son said they had been told that the delay cost the former engineer his life, with Brown’s GP – who repeatedly warned 999 call handlers that his status was critical – branding the current crisis engulfing the ambulance service as “third world medicine”.

The case has been referred to the Procurator Fiscal and the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.

It came as Health Secretary Humza Yousaf came under fire for urging the public to “think twice” before calling an ambulance except in “absolutely critical” situations amid unprecedented demand.

Brown, a cancer survivor who weighed just six stone and had a history of alcohol-related health problems, was found by his son’s partner on the floor of his flat in Dumbreck, Glasgow, last Monday with cuts to his back and arms from a fall.

The father-of-three, who was unable to get up to unlock his door, was dangerously dehydrated and requiring oxygen treatment.

The building’s concierge gained access to the property and called for an ambulance at 11am, with Brown’s family told they faced a 10-hour wait.

Paramedics arrived around 3am on Wednesday, by which time Brown had passed away.

“They pronounced that he was only just dead because he still had warmth in his body,” said his son, Dylan Brown, describing the delay as “just horrific”.

He added: “In this day and age, it should not be happening. I know with Covid people are busy and the NHS is struggling, but that’s unacceptable and we just don’t want it happening to another family.

“The worst thing about it is that [my father’s GP] Dr O’Neill said to me ‘Dylan, I can assure you that if they’d got to him your Dad would still be here’. That’s the hardest part to accept.”