4 May 2020

The First Minister’s announcement that lockdown will continue beyond the planned timeframe and that greater emphasis will be placed on developing a ‘ test, trace and isolate’ policy is the right approach, says Scottish Labour, but it is long overdue.

Scottish Labour has said that ditching the test and trace strategy early on was a mistake and is today calling on the Scottish Government to begin to develop an exit plan that will transition the NHS out of emergency status and place greater emphasis on protecting the mental and economic wellbeing of the population.

This transitional plan must set out how paused NHS services, such as crucial operations and outpatient clinics, can be restarted to support the nation’s wellbeing.

The long-term impact that pausing services will have on Scotland’s health inequalities has been made clear today as the Office for National Statistics report that nearly half of the population across the UK are suffering high levels of anxiety.

Commenting, Scottish Labour Leader Richard Leonard said:

“While an end to the lockdown remains some time off, the Scottish Government must begin to plan a transition that ensures no one is left behind. The expansion of testing announced today is welcome, but long overdue.

“The Government must also listen to clinicians who have warned that a delay to the restarting of clinical services could have a seriously detrimental impact on the welfare of patients.

“Indeed, the high number of so called “excess deaths” recorded recently suggests that people are missing out on the medical help they need.

“Support must also be given to the large number of people in Scotland who are deeply concerned and worried about their financial future. The Scottish Government must be pro-active in ensuring that jobs and that ailing businesses are supported.”

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