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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S5W-33516
Asked by: Dean Lockhart, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Date lodged: 25 November 2020


To ask the Scottish Government what progress has been made with the mutual aid arrangement between NHS Forth Valley and NHS Lanarkshire regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, and what impact this arrangement has had on its decisions relating to the COVID-19 Strategic Framework restriction levels for each local authority within the NHS boards' areas.

Current status: Answered by Jeane Freeman on 16 December 2020


As set out in our NHS Winter Preparedness Plan, our over-riding priority continues to be that the NHS is not overwhelmed in the coming weeks and months. We continue to work closely with all Health Boards, including NHS Forth Valley and NHS Lanarkshire, to ensure they have robust plans in place to deal with a range of pressures on capacity, including COVID-19 and the normal winter pressures; whilst maintaining as many non-Covid services as possible, in addition to emergency and urgent care.

Mutual aid arrangements are also in place between NHS Boards to ensure that there is enough capacity across the system to deal with peak levels of demand. In recent times, NHS Forth Valley has provided such assistance to NHS Lanarkshire across a range of specialties, including intensive care, breast cancer and orthopaedics. This activity is kept under close review by NHS clinicians and managers.

The mutual aid arrangements in place are taken into account by the National Incident Management Team, and inform the expert advice they provide to the Scottish Government on Ministers’ decision-making of the COVID-19 Strategic Framework protection levels.