The NHS will begin to resume some services that have been suspended, delayed or deferred because of the coronavirus pandemic.
A framework has been set out, detailing how health boards will follow national and local clinical advice to bring about a safe and gradual return of some paused services.
The plans will be introduced while maintaining capacity within the NHS for Covid-19 patients.
The services which will likely be prioritised include:
- cancer services, especially referrals and postponed treatments
- expanding treatments for non-cancer urgent inpatients and outpatients
- outpatient therapies where delay will increase the risk to patients, such as management of macular degeneration, paediatrics and respiratory services
- mental health support
- treatment room services such as blood monitoring and B12 injections
Health secretary Jeane Freeman said: “The coronavirus pandemic has seen an unprecedented response from our NHS and care staff. Our fantastic staff have delivered a massive reorganisation of services in just a matter of weeks. This has ensured that our NHS has not been overwhelmed.
“We are taking an evidence-based, cautious and phased approach to resuming services to ensure the virus continues to be suppressed. While NHS Scotland will remain on an emergency footing, this framework sets out our approach for the next phases as we continue to respond to this pandemic.
“Our approach is not only driven by clinical priorities but also what matters to people’s quality of life like pain clinics, dental treatment and preventative work like cancer screening.”