27 March 2020

Scottish Labour health spokesperson Monica Lennon has called for private hospital beds in Scotland to be made available to the NHS, before it becomes overwhelmed by Coronavirus.

She is seeking assurances from the Scottish Government that arrangements are in place to access private hospital beds, equipment and staff, to support Scotland’s national response to the pandemic.

In England, the whole private hospital sector has effectively been put under contract to the UK government. Under the terms of the agreement, private hospitals will not make a profit, undertaking the work at cost.

In recent days, it has emerged that dramatic plans are underway to use the SECC in Glasgow as a potential temporary hospital to deliver additional bed capacity.

Scotland has 13,000 hospital beds, with the Scottish Government announcing they plan to quadruple ICU capacity.

Scottish Labour said bringing private hospitals into the public sector would increase resources during the pandemic and urged the Scottish Government to confirm its intentions.

Scottish Labour Health Spokesperson Monica Lennon MSP said:

“I have asked the Scottish Government to bring private hospital facilities into the public sector to ensure all available beds, staff and equipment are used to support the national response to COVID-19.

“During a national health emergency, nothing should be off the table when it comes to ensuring our NHS in Scotland has what it needs.

“More beds, staff and equipment are needed to cope with the spread of the virus and give those who develop life-threatening symptoms the best chance of survival.

“We’ve watched in horror as patients in Italy have died because of a lack of ventilators and intensive care beds. We’ve had the warnings and we must act. Making use of the resources of the private health sector for the NHS in Scotland could make the difference between life and death for some patients.”
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