NHS services in Scotland to resume gradually, says Health Secretary

NHS services which were suspended due to coronavirus are to start resuming incrementally, according to the Health Secretary.

Health boards will use a framework known as "remobilise, recover, redesign" to prioritise services with an aim of ensuring that staff and patients are safe.

Patients have been warned their experience will seem different and may often take longer because of the demands of ensuring safety.

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Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: "Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic NHS Scotland has remained open, continuing to provide emergency, urgent, cancer and maternity care, support for social care and maintained Covid-19 capacity and resilience.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman.

“Thanks to the efforts of our healthcare staff and to all of us for continuing to follow public health advice, we have been able to protect our health service and provide the urgent care required to combat the virus.

“The Scottish Government is working with health boards to ensure the safe resumption of paused NHS services.

“We are doing this incrementally to ensure we prioritise patient and staff safety, whilst retaining capacity to treat Covid-19 in our health service, but good progress is being made.

“Patients should not expect to see all NHS services resumed immediately as it will take time to ensure physical distancing and other safety measures are in place to protect patients and staff."

The announcement comes as Scotland moves into phase two of easing restrictions and a number of measures will come into force during this stage.

Urgent referrals and triage of routine services in key specialities are set to resume and health boards will reintroduce any suspended GP services with greater use of telephone and video consultations.

From Monday, all dental practices will be able to open and treat patients in need of urgent dental care.

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Health boards will be able to gradually resume some screening services as of Monday June 29, while all community optometry practices will be able to resume seeing patients face-to-face who have emergency and essential eye problems.

From Monday July 6, some chronic disease management will resume, such as pain services and diabetic services, on an incremental basis.

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