Health Secretary Humza Yousaf says there is not the workforce to man field hospitals but has not ruled it out entirely.
Hundreds of firefighters, military personnel and taxi drivers will be drafted in to help bail out Scotland’s crisis-hit ambulance service from this weekend.
Mr Yousaf told BBC’s Good Morning Scotland that beds at field hospitals could “easily” be set up but “what we don’t have is the workforce”.
He added: “The army don’t have a huge pool of doctors that are just sitting there not doing anything.
“In fact the full-time doctors are very much based in the NHS, then if they have to go off to deployment in armed service then they would get permission from the NHS to go off into army personnel.
“To a question about field hospitals, I definitely wouldn’t rule it out entirely but we have to look at whether we end up pulling people out of acute sites at the moment to staff those beds.”
Scottish Labour is among those calling for field hospitals to be set up to relieve pressure on the NHS ahead of the winter months.
The health secretary said the Scottish Government is looking at repurposing parts of the hospital in order to create temporary emergency wards.
The government is also “working urgently in terms of the winter plan to free up some beds back into social care”.
There are about 1,500 patients on delayed discharge who are clinically safe to leave hospital but a “portion of them do not have a care package in their local communities”, Mr Yousaf said.
Support could last into winter
Around 225 military staff will assist with driving ambulances and at mobile testing units in Scotland for at least two months.
The Ministry of Defence is already providing similar driver support in England and Wales and is supporting the NHS in Northern Ireland.
When asked if this could be extended into winter, the health secretary said “it’s absolutely possible” but is dependent on whether the army can offer that support.
Mr Yousaf said: “Unsurprisingly these challenges are being faced right across the entire UK so a lot of requests have come in from Wales, England and other parts of the UK for military assistance.”
Sandesh Gulhane, Scottish Tories’ health spokesman, said: “Humza Yousaf has to stop hiding behind Covid and accept that the SNP’s failures pre-pandemic are now plunging Scotland’s NHS into a deeper crisis than the pandemic has created on its own.”