Alex Neil: Scotland ‘prepared’ for Ebola case

New York Hospital staff member wears protective clothing during a Ebola test demonstration. Picture: Getty

New York Hospital staff member wears protective clothing during a Ebola test demonstration. Picture: Getty

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SCOTLAND’S NHS is “fully prepared” to respond should a case of Ebola be confirmed in the country, the Health Secretary has said.

Alex Neil said the Scottish Government was closely monitoring the outbreak of the deadly virus in West Africa but insisted that it poses a very low risk to Scotland.

The country has the expertise and facilities in place to contain any case that might be diagnosed, he added.

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First Minister Alex Salmond will convene a meeting of the Government’s resilience committee today.

The committee will ensure that the health service is prepared for the possibility of an Ebola case as well as consider further measures to support countries affected by the outbreak.

The Government has already provided £500,000 to the World Health Organisation to help combat the spread of the disease in west Africa.

Mr Neil said: “Ebola currently poses a very low risk to Scotland and we have been working closely with Health Protection Scotland (HPS) to monitor this situation since the outbreak in west Africa began.

“It should be emphasised that, even if a case was diagnosed, we have the expertise and facilities to ensure that this would be contained and isolated effectively.

“But it is right to ensure that we are both doing all we can to help in the countries affected and that Scotland’s NHS stands ready should a case of Ebola be confirmed in Scotland.

“The Scottish Government is working with other UK departments to ensure that appropriate border controls are in place and we have a co-ordinated response to this, continually evolving, situation. This is in line with advice and actions being introduced globally.

“Scotland has a robust health protection surveillance system which monitors global disease outbreaks and ensures that we are fully prepared to respond to such situations.”

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