Cautious approach to resuming NHS services in Scotland
NHS services, which ceased during lockdown, are to be restarted again.
During the lockdown, the health service has focused on emergency, urgent and maternity care while some less urgent services have been paused. However, a new guidance framework advises health boards on how to safely resume these services without impacting their ability to provide coronavirus related and social services.
Priorities in the next phase of health board mobilisation include cancer services, more treatments for urgent inpatients and outpatients, therapies for macular degeneration, paediatrics and respiratory conditions, mental health support and treatment room services including blood work and B12 injections,
Scotland’s health secretary, Jeane Freeman, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has seen an unprecedented response from our NHS and care staff. Our fantastic staff have delivered a massive reorganisation of services in just a matter of weeks. This has ensured that our NHS has not been overwhelmed.
“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.”
Interim chief medical officer Gregor Smith added: “Re-mobilise, Recover, Re-design, The Framework for NHS Scotland sets out the steps being taken to safely resume some paused NHS services across Scotland. It ensures that the successful steps taken to maintain services during the pandemic are learnt from and built upon. This includes the significant innovations introduced across the NHS to assess patients utilising digital technology.
“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. We will continue to work with health boards, local authorities, Royal Colleges, professional bodies, unions and other key stakeholders to ensure this is robust and up to date.”