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International Situation (Contingency Planning)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:33 pm on 19th March 2003.

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Photo of Rt Hon Jack McConnell Rt Hon Jack McConnell Labour 2:33 pm, 19th March 2003

Although I do not want to go into too much intricate detail about the arrangements that might be in place, I can reassure the chamber that, although the number of NHS staff in Scotland who are involved is not insignificant, it is not at the other end of the spectrum. I think that, at present, 10 doctors and 27 nurses may have been called up to undertake service in some capacity. Clearly, arrangements are required to ensure that their work load is shared among others or re-routed; that has been the subject of discussions that have taken place over recent weeks.

None of us should deny that there will be an impact on Scotland. In addition to the potential impact on our national health service, there could be an impact on our communities as a result of rising tensions. Moreover, any international tension could have an impact on our tourist trade. We must prepare for and move to accommodate eventualities in all those areas and ensure that Scotland's public services and economy are as strong as possible afterwards. That is exactly what the contingency planning is all about.