NHS Scotland crisis: Nicola Sturgeon claims 'slight easing' of pressures as calls to NHS24 service reduced

Nicola Sturgeon says there has been a “slight easing” of pressures on the NHS as she said the Scottish Government was working with a major hospital to free up more capacity for non-urgent elective procedures.

The First Minister used a press conference at St Andrew’s House on Monday morning to stress Scotland’s NHS remained under “significant strain” amid “one of the most difficult winters in the history of the NHS”.

But she clarified there had been a “slight easing”, with the number of calls to the NHS24 service having reduced in the past week, and the situation at some accident-and-emergency (A&E) departments “stabilising”.

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She clarified that three health boards – NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, NHS Borders, and NHS Ayrshire & Arran – had chosen to pause non-urgent elective procedures over the past week.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon during a press conference on winter pressures in the NHS, at St Andrews House in Edinburgh. Picture: PA

But she said the Government was working with the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Clydebank to make additional room available and free up weekend capacity to ensure waiting times did not subsequently spiral.

Ms Sturgeon also highlighted the prospect of immediate strike action within the NHS having been “removed” in Scotland. Threatened widespread strikes in the NHS in Scotland was paused on Friday after a breakthrough in talks between unions and the Scottish Government.

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