Forth Valley Royal Hospital Intensive Care Unit (Capacity Planning)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 26th November 2020.

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Photo of Angus MacDonald Angus MacDonald Scottish National Party

5. To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with NHS Forth Valley regarding capacity planning at the Forth Valley royal hospital intensive care unit, in light of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. (S5O-04797)

Photo of Jeane Freeman Jeane Freeman Scottish National Party

As we set out in our national health service winter plan, our boards are working to plan and manage the competing pressures on the NHS from Covid-19, including the vaccine programme and the normal winter pressures, while maintaining as many non-Covid services as possible in addition to their emergency, urgent and trauma care.

We have the ability nationally to double ICU capacity to 360 beds within one week, to treble capacity to 585 beds in two weeks and, if required, to extend capacity to more than 700 beds. Within that, NHS Forth Valley has a maximum surge capacity of 29 ICU beds. However, mutual aid arrangements are also in place between NHS boards to ensure that there is enough capacity across the system to deal with varying levels of peak demand.

Photo of Angus MacDonald Angus MacDonald Scottish National Party

Since lodging my question, I have had a very constructive meeting with NHS Forth Valley, including with the chief executive, Cathie Cowan. It is clear to me that, despite the obvious pressures, NHS Forth Valley is on top of its game at Forth Valley royal hospital and that the situation at its ICU is currently under control.

Therefore, I have no supplementary question to ask, unless the cabinet secretary wishes to join me in congratulating the whole team at Forth Valley royal hospital, particularly the ICU staff, who are working in full personal protective equipment day in, day out and week in, week out and doing a tremendous job.

Photo of Jeane Freeman Jeane Freeman Scottish National Party

I am grateful to Mr MacDonald. I am glad that he had a constructive and positive meeting with the board’s chief executive, which is what I would expect.

I am delighted to join him in congratulating the whole team, particularly the ICU team, at Forth Valley royal hospital and staff across NHS Forth Valley, as well as staff across all our health boards, whichever part of the system they are working in. Our staff are quite extraordinary, and they are doing tremendous work.