Covid-19 Update

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 3rd March 2020.

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Photo of Miles Briggs Miles Briggs Conservative

I thank the cabinet secretary for the advance copy of her statement.

Understandably, many Scots—especially those with respiratory issues and compromised immune systems—are deeply concerned about the potential extreme demands that the coronavirus could place on the NHS and social care services.

Over the past six years, there has been a significant reduction in the number of hospital beds, with the loss of 2,762 acute beds. Given the reasonable worst-case scenario planning that the cabinet secretary and the chief medical officer have outlined, which suggests that a high number of vulnerable patients would require hospitalisation, what planning is taking place for recommissioning NHS beds across the hospital estate in Scotland?

In relation to calling back former NHS staff, what steps are being taken to gather information on where those potential staff members currently reside? Have ministers considered carrying out a publicity campaign to help identify them at an early stage?