Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has today issued a stark warning about the impact of “spiralling self-isolation” leading to acute staff shortages and putting health care services at risk.
Mr Rennie has received fresh concerns from staff working at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary that absences, many linked to self-isolation, are heaping pressure on the hospital. Staff report that the workforce situation is now worse than at any other point during the pandemic.
These new concerns from the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary echo reports from hospitals across the country triggering emergency procedures as a result of staff shortages and rising case rates.
Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin all issued a ‘code black’ status alert in recent days, resulting in a reduction of services offered.
Mr Rennie said:
"ERI staff tell me that workforce shortages are worse now than at any other point in the crisis. They say it is piling pressure on the hospital and remaining staff.
“Its the self-isolation that's behind this, not covid-driven patient demand. There is still some way still to go until the vaccine gives us all more security. But the pressure on essential services is reaching a crisis point now and they are seizing up. The spiralling self-isolation rates are a real danger to the wider health service and beyond.
“The First Minister cannot come to Parliament on Tuesday with more plans to make plans. This isn’t a time for more pondering. We need concrete actions and urgent changes around the rules and expectations for self-isolation, especially for these key workers, to make sure Scotland has a functioning healthcare system.”