The NHS Louisa Jordan, built in three weeks inside Glasgow's SEC in a pre-emptive bid to deal with the expected demand for Covid-19 care, has now seen 315 patients for outpatient consultations.
A trial by NHS Lanarkshire, which began at the beginning of July, involved patients who needed orthopaedic and plastic surgery appointments, and plans are now in place to expand the services offered at the hospital to increase the number of patients it can receive daily from health boards across Scotland.
New services to be offered include key diagnostics such as X-rays, CT scanning and ultrasounds, as well as speciality dermatology appointments.
The hospital, which was named after Glasgow-born First World War nurse Sister Louisa Jordan who died on active service in Serbia in 1915 as part of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals for Foreign Services, was opened in April, with 1036 bed bays and the capacity to treat an initial 300 patients.
However it was never required as the numbers of people needing hospital care for Covid, did not overwhelm the NHS, leading to demands from opposition MSPs for the hospital to be used in other ways to ease pressure on the NHS.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “We always hoped that the NHS Louisa Jordan would never be needed for the Covid response and thanks to the continued collective efforts of people across Scotland to suppress the virus, that has been the case.
“When it comes to tackling this virus, we have all had to be flexible and adapt to the ‘new normal’ and that includes our health service. Although the NHS Louisa Jordan has not been required to treat Covid-19 patients, it remains a vital asset in our phased approach to resuming NHS services safely where we can.
“It is providing capacity to reduce waiting lists and improve outcomes for patients across Scotland. I am pleased that while it stands ready to treat patients with the virus at just a few days’ notice, the NHS Louisa Jordan is making a valuable contribution to our health service now, even while the virus remains under control.”
Chief Executive of NHS Louisa Jordan Jill Young added: “As a national resource for the NHS in Scotland, we are proud to be playing our part in ensuring that more patients are receiving the safe, effective and person-centred care, they need during the current situation.
“NHS Louisa Jordan was created through teamwork with a spirit of collaboration which has been shown across NHSScotland during these challenging times. We look forward to working with NHS Boards across Scotland to help deliver key outpatient and diagnostic services for patients.”
Scottish Labour Leader Richard Leonard welcomed the move to utilise the Louisa Jordan to help tackle the NHS backlog and treat outpatients, but said more was needed to get the NHS running fully.
“We urgently need cancer screening and treatment to be restarted to prevent a tsunami of cancer deaths and more must be done to get routine surgery back on track,” he said. “Nevertheless, this decision is a small step in the right direction and Scottish Labour will continue to press the government to get the NHS fully operational, including increasing workforce capacity as required, in the interests of patients and staff.”
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