Humza Yousaf has pledged an extra £11.5m to help the NHS recover from the impact of the Covid crisis as he formally opened Scotland’s first National Treatment Centre.
The health secretary visited the new eye centre at the NHS Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank – which is the first phase of the new National Treatment Centre and also forms part of the planned expansion of the hospital.
While the eye centre began seeing patients in November 2020 its official opening was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Work on the second phase of the new centre is already under way, with this expected to be completed by June 2023, allowing for thousands more hip and knee replacements and other orthopaedic procedures to be carried out each year, along with expanded facilities for testing and surgery.
The centre has already trebled its endoscopy programme during the pandemic, allowing more people to benefit from the procedure in which a camera is inserted into them.
Meanwhile, Yousaf pledged an additional £11.5m to help reduce waiting times as part of efforts to remobilise the NHS in the wake of coronavirus.
The health secretary said: “I am delighted to formally open the NHS Golden Jubilee Eye Centre, the first National Treatment Centre for NHS Scotland.
“This forms part of our capital programme to deliver a network of elective, diagnostic and treatment centres across Scotland and is the largest ever investment in elective care infrastructure in NHS Scotland with an overall investment of £330m.”
Yousaf continued: “The centre here at the NHS Golden Jubilee has been operational since November 2020 to specifically support ophthalmology services.
“Due to the Covic-19 pandemic it is only now that we have been able to visit to see this crucial development in the way we deliver planned care.
“Not only has the centre started treating patients during such unprecedented times but it has increased the number of ophthalmology procedures undertaken by the NHS Golden Jubilee by almost 47%.
“I cannot thank the NHS staff here enough for their drive and determination to support planned care through this most difficult period.”
He added that “as part of the ongoing efforts here at the NHS Golden Jubilee I am pleased to announce an additional £11.5m has been made available to support current activity going through this national facility”.
The health secretary stated: “This will provide targeted capacity to deliver activity for some of our most challenged specialities including diagnostic testing and orthopaedic surgery.”
And he pledged: “This is only two of many initiatives that will form part of our NHS Recovery Plan which this Government will publish in the coming weeks.”