The call comes ahead of a meeting of NHS Lanarkshire ‘Gold Command’ in which the scaling back of elective care services will be considered. The meeting at NHS Lanarkshire comes after NHS Highland placed Raigmore hospital on ‘code black status’ as it reached capacity amid rising Covid-19 cases.
In a letter to NHS Lanarkshire staff, chief executive Heather Knox said: “The challenges caused by pressures on our emergency departments, rising Covid numbers and workforce pressures, are causing difficulties for staff across both acute and community services.
“I have asked my team to both look at what we can do to release more staff to support and also sadly to consider if we now need to pull back on some of our elective care services. Tomorrow our senior team will hold a Gold Command meeting where we will identify solutions to the current challenges.”
Scottish Labour health spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: “This is an incredibly worrying situation in Lanarkshire. We can now see the direct impact that the SNP’s failure to control COVID is having on those in need of care and medical attention. If elective treatment is cancelled then waiting lists will grow ever longer.
“With NHS Lanarkshire at breaking point, Humza Yousaf simply must wake up and take action. The people of Scotland should not be put at harm due to the failings of the SNP government.
She added: “It’s time the SNP woke up to the disaster unfolding on their watch and accelerated the vaccine programme to protect the Scottish people.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “This latest wave of the pandemic is threatening to overwhelm the NHS and other essential services. If the SNP don’t act now wards will be closed, operations cancelled, care service will stop, bins won’t be collected and the police won’t be on the front line to keep us safe.
“Because the SNP Government have lost control of the virus so much of it is swirling around. As a result, thousands of people are self-isolating because they are close contacts of people testing positive. We’ve seen the impact on Raigmore hospital and other hospitals across the country.”
He added: “As it seems the connection between the virus and hospitalisation and risk of death has been broken, the nature of the pandemic has changed once again. But the SNP Government are caught like rabbits in the headlights, dithering about what to do next. The current position is unsustainable. The growth of the virus needs to be cut and the self-isolation rules need to change.
“Inaction will mean that these vital services will be at risk of collapse.”