Scotland’s national clinical director Jason Leitch has said claims NHS England and English care homes have priority on personal protective equipment (PPE) are “rubbish”.
The chief executive of Scottish Care, which represents care homes in Scotland, had earlier insisted the largest PPE manufacturers were not delivering to Scotland because the NHS and social care providers in England were a priority.
And The Times reported that Gompels, a manufacturer in Melksham, Wiltshire, said it will not supply Scotland or Wales under a contract that it holds with Public Health England.
But clinical director Leitch refuted that suggestion and said colleagues south of the border had denied this was the case.
Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme on Tuesday, he added that the four countries of the UK were “pretty aligned” in their response to coronavirus.
Mr Leitch said: “We have looked into it and we think it’s rubbish. So, the companies, and our colleagues at NHS England yesterday when we spoke to them, said it wasn’t true … so we are in a four-country fight against this virus. Honestly, people might not believe me, but that four-countries fight is pretty aligned.”
“I think on the way out as on the way in – it will be gradual.”Jason Leitch on Scotland’s plan to ease social distancing restrictions
He said the NHS and care homes in Scotland could also order PPE from Scottish providers, as well as providers abroad.
Mr Leitch said Donald Macaskill, the chief executive of Scottish Care, had highlighted there had been issues with distribution.
He added: “What we struggled a little bit with distribution over the last few weeks is distribution to the lesser well-known care home sector who haven’t needed PPE in the past until they’ve had this virus. Now that is being sorted very, very quickly. I’m much more confident than I was even a week ago, that that is now working.”
Mr Leitch also said there were signs that hospital admissions and intensive care admissions were “flattening off” over the last few days, but Scotland still needed to “turn a corner”.
Any easing of restrictions would be “gradual”, he said, as a second wave of infections would be the “doomsday scenario”.
He said: “I think on the way out as on the way in – it will be gradual.”