COP26 will not have substantial impact on Glasgow health services, says Nicola Sturgeon

COP26 will not have a substantial impact on routine health services in Glasgow and surrounding areas, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister was asked on Thursday to give MSPs an update on the expected impact of the conference, which will see thousands of people descending on Glasgow, on local health services.

Scottish Labour MSP for Glasgow Pauline McNeill told the First Minister she was concerned NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde had not made any move to increase inpatient capacity during the conference.

But the First Minister said there were contingency measures in place, in line with the impact of previous COP events.

First Minster Nicola Sturgeon during First Minster's Questions in the debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. Picture date: Thursday October 28, 2021.

“The Scottish Government is working very closely with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde,” Ms Sturgeon said.

"We have been doing so for some months to plan and prepare for COP26.

“Information from previous summits tells us that the impact on routine health services is not substantial.

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“However, we are not complacent and we also recognise the risks associated with hosting COP during the pandemic.

“We've been working therefore with the UN, the UK Government, Glasgow City Council and Public Health Scotland and others to put in place measures to mitigate these risks and the potential impact on the NHS and other public services.

“Arrangements are in place to closely monitor Covid cases and respond swiftly and appropriately to any increase in cases in order to minimise impact on healthcare services.”

Ms McNeill asked for assurances there would be “safe and guaranteed” routes to A&E across Glasgow during the conference, for both ambulances and the general public.

This is provided for in transport plans, Ms Sturgeon said.

She said: "Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board is increasing the staffing that will be in place during the summit, and the hospitals that will receive patients will depend on the nature of why patients have been admitted to hospital and the profile of impact across the city.”

Board papers from NHS Glasgow and Clyde earlier this week stated that extra staff were being sought for A&E, mental health assessment units and the police custody service.

The health board expects the greatest demand to come from the activist marches on November 5 and 6, which are expected to see attendance of up to 100,000 people.

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