Extra staff are to be drafted into Glasgow’s accident and emergency wards during COP26 when two marches by climate activists are expected to cause a demand for treatment.
An NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde report reveals a march on Saturday, November 6 has been licenced for up to 100,000 people, and adds it is “likely that the biggest demand for healthcare will be from activists”.
Additional workers are also being put in place for mental health assessment units and the police custody service.
The march on November 6 has been organised by the COP26 Coalition to demand “just and fair solutions to the climate crisis” and will go from Kelvingrove Park to Glasgow Green.
It will be preceded by a school strike for climate justice on Friday, November 5, when Fridays for Future (FFF) Scotland — the Scottish branch of an international youth movement founded by Greta Thunberg — are set to march from Kelvingrove Park to George Square.
Climate campaigner Thunberg has confirmed she will take part in the march, which is expected to attract thousands of young protesters.
The report, to the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde board meeting on Tuesday, states information “from other COP conferences and the recent G7 summit is that there was a limited demand for hospital admission” during the events and “as such no specific provision has been made for additional inpatient capacity”.
However, it adds: “It is likely that the biggest demand for healthcare will be from activists who will be attending this event and the two activist marches on 5 and 6 of November.
“The march on November 6 has been licensed for up to 100,000 people. Additional staffing is being sought for the emergency departments.
“Additional staff are being put in place for the mental health assessment units and the police custody service. Facilities and procurement have reviewed delivery routes and stockholdings to ensure there is no impact on service delivery.”
A medical treatment centre, staffed by doctors and advanced paramedics, will be open on the SEC conference site. It aims to deal with “minor ailments and injuries on the site and to direct people to access community pharmacy for any medications required”.
Daily attendance at the conference is capped at 14,000 delegates a day due to social distancing requirements, which is equivalent to the capacity of the Hydro.
“By way of contrast the three main football stadiums have a daily capacity of over 50,000,” the report adds.
It pointed out: “Many delegates are not staying in hotels in Glasgow but will be travelling daily into the city.”
All GPs and some hospital managers have been sent postcode data of areas affected by the conference to plan and communicate to patients who might need access to hospital, such as pregnant women.
The November 6 march will take place on the conference’s global day of action, an event which has been held at every United Nations climate conference since 2005, with demonstrations held across the world.
FFF Scotland are also a co-organiser for that march, alongside groups including the Scottish Trade Unions Congress and Friends of the Earth Scotland.
Thunberg started FFF in August 2018 when she began a school strike to demand action on the climate crisis. She has since been joined by young people across the world.
COP26 will run from October 31 to November 12, with world leaders expected to arrive for crucial talks at the SEC.
By local democracy reporter Drew Sandelands