Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 4th January 2021.

Alert me about debates like this

The First Minister:

The 96 per cent level in Ayrshire and Arran is for hospital bed capacity; it is not for ICU capacity. Generally, that will vary across different health boards but, although it would be wrong to say that ICU is not under pressure, it is nowhere near the peak that it was at in April. That is largely because fewer people who go into hospital now require intensive care, because treatment options have got better. However, hospital capacity is more of a concern, and that is particularly true in Ayrshire and Arran, Glasgow, the Borders and Lanarkshire.

That goes back to the need to ensure that we do not add to that pressure. The 96 per cent refers to Covid capacity. We need to take the steps that I have set out to ensure that we do not overwhelm that capacity. That is one of the reasons why we have decided to act so quickly and decisively.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran is the health board on which many members of my family depend. My sister works in NHS Ayrshire and Arran, and I know about the particular pressures there, but they are replicated in boards across the country, which is why sticking to the restrictions is the best thing that all of us can do to help to meet the pressures and ensure that they are not exacerbated.