• Kenneth Gibson MSP

Extra Support for Scotland’s NHS during Most Difficult Winter


The SNP Government is putting in place a range of steps being put in place to support the health and social care workforce and maximise capacity across NHS Ayrshire & Arran and other health boards.


Measures include £500,000 to fund 25,000 remote monitoring kits, including additional pulse oximeters, and a dedicated team which will support the early identification of patients who would benefit from antivirals treatments and get these started as soon as possible. This will free up beds in acute hospitals.


COVID admissions are rising at a rate 45% faster than they did last winter, and this combined with existing winter pressures is creating significant demand on hospitals.


A large spike in staff absence relating to COVID is also significantly impacting NHS service provision.


In addition to the investment in remote monitoring, the SNP Government will also expand existing programmes, including Hospital at Home, Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Therapy (OPAT) services for managing infections and Community Respiratory pathways.


These services allow patients to be treated in their own home and to receive the relevant treatment without admission to hospital.


Kenneth Gibson said said:


“Modelling suggests that infections and associated staff absences due to the coronavirus could peak by mid-January.


“Treating more people who previously may have been admitted to hospital at home with anti-virals and suitable support is essential to free up capacity in our hospitals.


“All of this builds on work already underway as part of our £300 million investment in health and care services as part of winter preparations, to help maximise capacity, support the wellbeing of our fantastic health and care staff, support flow through the system and improve outcomes.”


Data published on 05 January 2022 shows that in the week commencing 04 January 2022, there was a 65% increase in coronavirus absence compared to the previous week.


Between Christmas Day and January 10th the number of patients in hospital with recently confirmed COVID increased by 905, 45% faster than over the same period last winter when it increased by 625.


The measures being taken forward over the next few days and weeks will cover patients affected by COVID-19, but will also cover a range of other conditions and illnesses such as pneumonia, congestive cardiac failure, gastroenteritis, cellulitis, sepsis, dementia and related complications, complex falls, anaemia, influenza exacerbations of COPD and asthma.


The winter pressures funding announced in October is a substantial investment that aims to bolster recruitment amongst other measures. COVID-19 financial support for adult social care providers will exist alongside these measures to support the social care sector throughout the winter.


ENDS