Coronavirus: NHS services to be gradually restarted

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NHS services suspended in Scotland because of coronavirus are to be gradually restarted, the health secretary has announced.

Jeane Freeman said pain clinics, dental treatment and cancer referrals would be among the first areas to be restored.

Health boards have submitted mobilisation plans to ministers.

These will see the return of regular NHS services but also maintain capacity in hospitals for dealing with Covid-19 cases.

The services likely to be prioritised by health boards include:

  • Cancer services, including referrals and postponed treatments
  • Expanding treatments for non-cancer urgent inpatients and outpatients
  • Outpatient therapies such as management of macular degeneration, paediatrics and respiratory services
  • Mental health support
  • Blood monitoring and B12 injections.

NHS remains on ’emergency footing’

Ms Freeman said: “We are taking an evidence-based, cautious and phased approach to resuming services to ensure the virus continues to be suppressed.

“While NHS Scotland will remain on an emergency footing, this framework sets out our approach for the next phases as we continue to respond to this pandemic.

“Our approach is not only driven by clinical priorities but also what matters to people’s quality of life like pain clinics, dental treatment and preventative work like cancer screening.”

Virus to be with us for ‘some time to come’

Interim chief medical officer Dr Gregor Smith added: “The reality is coronavirus is likely to be with us for some time to come, and so many changes made in the coming weeks and months have to be measured against the need to keep the virus under control, continuing to protect the NHS and save lives.

“Our approach will be informed by national and local clinical priorities.”

Latest figures published by the Scottish government reveal that 15,400 people have tested positive for Covid-19, an increase of 18 from Saturday.

A further nine people who tested positive have died, taking the total in Scotland, by that measure, to 2,362 deaths.

A total of 1,073 people were in hospital on Saturday night with either a confirmed (732) or suspected (341) case of Covid-19, a decrease of 41 overall.

There were 20 confirmed cases in intensive care, with another seven people with suspected Covid-19 also in intensive care.

3,688 people have been discharged from hospital after receiving treatment for the virus since 5 March.


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