David Stewart questions Health Secretary on Coronavirus and intensive care beds

Highlands and Islands MSP David Stewart, who is also Labour’s Shadow Public Health Minister, asked the Health Minister to outline “the Scottish Government’s strategy for the final stage of dealing with the coronavirus, which is the mitigation phase, particularly with reference to intensive care beds which are in short supply relative to our European neighbours such as Italy”.

Ms Freeman explained the number of intensive care beds was the same proportionally as throughout the UK and admitted that, going by the evidence, those most seriously affected were likely to need intensive care beds.

She went on to say that part of the work now being undertaken was the doubling of intensive care beds and getting the right trained staff and right equipment and the Government would look at what more it can do to maximise capacity.

Ms Freeman added: “All of us need to understand that the situation is a serious one, that while many people will be mildly affected, for some this will be a serious infection and for many it will potentially cause their death.”

Afterwards Mr Stewart added that he hoped the two people affected with the virus on Shetland make a full recovery and sent them and their families all best wishes.

“With two cases of coronavirus confirmed on Shetland, we can’t become blasé about our position in the Highlands and Islands and need to heed the advice from the medical experts as this situation develops.

“However, we have a smaller pool of resources, both medically and in the number of hospitals and beds available in our region, so I will be monitoring how this develops and how we are able to cope.”