Nicola Sturgeon: 'No guarantee' all non-urgent surgery will continue during level four lockdown
Elective surgeries are at risk of being cancelled again across Scotland due to the level four post-Christmas lockdown after Nicola Sturgeon said she could give no guarantee they would continue to happen.
The First Minister, speaking after giving a Covid-19 update to the Scottish Parliament, said the Scottish Government is supporting the NHS to tackle the backlog of procedures which were cancelled earlier in the year during the first lockdown.
However she said that cancellations could occur again as hospitals and the NHS are stretched during the next phase of the pandemic.
Willie Rennie, the leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, asked Ms Sturgeon whether she expected more NHS boards to announce the cancellation of non-urgent operations “in the near future”.
He said: “At least 135,000 operations were cancelled earlier this year in the lockdown and we know for safety reasons hospitals have limited the number of elective surgery operations.
"I’m concerned about reports that ever greater numbers of operations have been cancelled, that some hospitals have cancelled all non-urgent procedures and that some NHS boards are considering following suit.”
In response, the First Minister said that keeping these procedures going was a “priority” and that the Scottish Government want the situation to “get back to normal”.
Ms Sturgeon said: “We want as much elective treatment to continue, we want to get back to normal in as much as that is possible and that is a priority we discussed at cabinet early today.
"But this does depend on our ability to suppress this virus.
"To put it bluntly, the more patients that require hospital and intensive care treatment for Covid and the more staff that are required to support that, then of course the greater the levels of infection, the more hospital and NHS staff generally are likely to be off sick...then the less able the NHS will be to do normal business.
"We are supporting the NHS to get that balance as right as possible.
"I cannot guarantee that no NHS board or no hospital will have to postpone elective treatment but we are trying to support the NHS through this as much as possible to reduce the backlog of this year and to stop that backlog as far as possible rising any further.”
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.
If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.