The Scottish government has asked the MoD for military assistance for the country's ambulance service.
Nicola Sturgeon said health services were dealing with the most challenging combination of circumstances in their history due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Opposition politicians have highlighted a series of serious ambulance delays, including one where a man died after a 40-hour wait. They said this should not be happening in Scotland in 2021.
Ms Sturgeon said her government was looking at a range of plans to deal with the significant challenges facing the health services, with the detail of a request for military assistance being considered.
Investigations are ongoing into several cases reported in the media on Thursday, including one where a Glasgow pensioner died after a 40-hour wait for an ambulance.
The Herald newspaper reported that the family of 65-year-old Gerard Brown were told that he could have survived had help arrived sooner.
Mr Brown's GP - who is said to have repeatedly warned 999 call handlers that the patient's status was critical - was quoted as describing the crisis engulfing the Scottish Ambulance Service as being like "third world medicine".
The Scottish Ambulance Service is investigating the circumstances of the case, and said it will be "in contact with Mr Brown's family directly to apologise for the delay".
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Source: BBC News, 16 September 2021