NHS in Scotland 2020
Staff across the NHS and Scottish Government took early action during the first wave in 2020, including increasing intensive care capacity and pausing non-urgent treatment. Service innovation, such as a huge rise in video consultations, also happened within weeks and it is important these are learned from. However, there is now a substantial backlog of patients, with NHS boards prioritising those in most urgent need. It will be hard to deal with this backlog alongside the financial and operational challenges already faced by boards.
The Scottish Government based its initial response to Covid-19 on the 2011 UK flu pandemic preparedness strategy. Scotland took part in three pandemic preparedness exercises in the years before the coronavirus outbreak. But not all the actions identified in these exercises were fully implemented. These included measures to ensure access to enough PPE and to quickly address social care capacity, both of which became significant issues during the first wave of Covid-19.
Covid-19 has caused or contributed to the deaths of around 9,000 people in Scotland so far. People from the most deprived areas, of South Asian origin, or of Caribbean or Black ethnicity are among those who have suffered disproportionately from the pandemic. Deaths from other causes were also higher than average at the start of the pandemic.
Stephen Boyle, Auditor General for Scotland, said:
"NHS staff have shown extraordinary commitment to treating and caring for Scotland's people during a pandemic that has highlighted the need to deal with long-standing health inequalities.
"Getting the full range of health services back up and running will be challenging. But there are clear lessons to be learned from the pandemic, both in how the country could have been better prepared and in the innovation that we've seen. It's essential that these advances are now retained and built upon."
NHS in Scotland 2020
Oral evidence session 25 February 2021
The Committee took evidence from Stephen Boyle, the Auditor General for Scotland, Angela Canning, Audit Director, Leigh Johnston, Senior Manager and Eva Thomas-Tudo, Senior Auditor, Perfomance and Best Value, Audit Scotland.
Please read the Official Report of 25 February 2021
Meeting papers for 25 February 2020
Minutes from 25 February 2020
Oral evidence session 11 March 2021
The Committee took evidence from Caroline Lamb, Chief Executive, NHS Scotland and Director-General for Health and Social Care, Richard McCallum, Interim Director of Health Finance and Governance, Fiona McQueen, Chief Nursing Officer, and Dr Gregor Smith, Chief Medical Officer, Scottish Government.
Followed by the Auditor General for Scotland and Audit Scotland.
Please read the Official Report from 11 March 2021
Meeting papers for 11 March 2021
Minutes from 11 March 2021
The Committee agreed at its meeting on 18 March 2021 to close its scrutiny of the report.