NICOLA Sturgeon has defended her government’s approach to PPE – insisting she would never put her NHS worker sister at risk.
In parliament today, the First Minister faced criticism from acting Labour leader Jackie Baillie and was asked why she hadn’t listened to concerns about protective gear from frontline staff.
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Her rival claimed “lives could have been saved” if Ms Sturgeon had acted on worries flagged up surrounding flu pandemic planning.
But the Nats supremo hit back, insisting concerns have always been taken to her team of clinical advisers, who are confident the current PPE in place is adequate.
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She added that as soon as that advice changes, action will be taken.
Ms Sturgeon said: “I’m not qualified as a politician or former lawyer to decide the technical specifications of PPE.
“That’s what I have clinical advisers for and every time clinical or social care staff say they need a higher specification we ask our clinical advisers to consider that and to come to a view. That has been done up until now on a four-nations basis, so we will never dismiss those claims.
“The advice until now, to me and to the government, is that the specification of PPE that is being used is appropriate for even the new variants of Covid. If that advice changes, so to will the decisions we take on PPE.”
Ms Sturgeon also pointed out that with sister Gill and other family members working on the frontline, she would never be complacent over the protection of workers.
She added: “I would never, not just as First Minister although that is the most important point here, but as the sister of somebody who works in the frontline of the NHS, and as the sister-in-law of somebody, I would never dismiss the views of those in the frontline of the National Health Service.
“So we will continue to take those decisions based on the best advice, and we will continue to learn lessons just as we learned lessons from the 2009 pandemic from the exercises.
“But we will also learn the real lessons of this one, which is that we must learn as we go and we must not assume that the pandemics we’re going to face are the ones that we have faced in the past
“I think the real criticism here, of governments like this one, is that we should have been better prepared for a Sars-type virus and focused less in flu preparedness.
“Now I’m able to say that but let’s engage properly on these things rather than just chuck soundbites across a parliamentary chamber.”
It comes as the SNP leader also confirmed a further 64 Scots have died from coronavirus.
She revealed an additional 1,121 cases of the deadly infection had emerged overnight.
A total of 1,317 people remained in hospital after testing positive for Covid.
Meanwhile, 99 patients were in intensive care as they battled the killer bug.
Overall, 194,269 Scots have been registered as contracting Covid since it first emerged last March.
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