Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 5th March 2020.

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Photo of Jackson Carlaw Jackson Carlaw Conservative

I thank the First Minister for that response. If a rapidly rising number of cases transpires, one emerging issue in consequence is likely to be the availability of beds. In the past few years, healthcare has shifted from hospitals into the community, with specialist services concentrated into one place in larger hospitals. In consequence, we have fewer beds and fewer smaller community hospitals, which has happened in response to changes in demographics, technology and medicine.

Given that the chief medical officer has suggested that a full outbreak will require more intensive hospitalisation, will the First Minister indicate how many extra beds may be required and what contingency plans are being prepared to commission them?