Jackie Baillie, Jeane Freeman and a scientist at work.

Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton, Vale of Leven, Helensburgh and Lomond, has called for an urgent review into the day to day running of the NHS by the Scottish Government following the news that Scotland had the third worst excess death rate in the world.

This report from the National Records of Scotland which shows that Scotland has one of the highest ‘excess deaths’ rates in the world.

Excess death is the term used when discussing all deaths that have occurred in a period – rather than just those deaths where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate. ‘Excess deaths’ are seen as the best indicator of Covid-19 mortalities.

Scotland’s ‘excess death’ rate is 861 cases per one million people.

This is higher than almost every other country which has been impacted badly by Covid-19. Scotland comes in ahead of Italy and Germany and is only slightly behind the rates of Spain and the United States.

Jackie Baillie has repeatedly raised concerns on the extent to which Scotland has been affected by Covid-19. West Dunbartonshire has the second highest number of Covid-19 deaths per head of the population.

The MSP said: “”It is becoming increasingly clear that the headline figures for Covid-19 deaths, which are themselves worryingly high, mask the even more grim reality of the impact of this pandemic on lives in Scotland.

“My thoughts are with the family and friends of everyone who has lost their life during this crisis.

“Thousands of lives have been lost as resources were focused on tackling Covid-19, but in the meantime the ‘tsunami’ FM Nicola Sturgeon said she was safeguarding against has taken place in our care homes.

“The Scottish Government has a duty of care to every one of its citizens, and especially to the most vulnerable in society.

“Ministers must urgently review the allocation of resources and cancellation of non-Covid NHS procedures, to ensure this worrying pattern does not continue.”

Meanwhile, Jackie Baillie has also challenged Health Secretary Freeman over the lack of virus testing being carried out and the overall failure of the SNP government to follow WHO advice. 

Speaking in the Holyrood chamber, Ms Baillie highlighted that, despite the First Minister claiming that Scotland now had testing capacity to carry out 15,000 tests a day, only 4,624 tests were carried out on average last week with only 2,729 tests undertaken yesterday and 937 people being tested for the first time. 

So far, only around 2.1 per cent of the Scottish population has been tested completely ignoring WHO’s advice to “test, test, test” and unless testing is expanded rapidly Scotland will be unable to move to the “test, trace and isolate” stage.

Jackie Baillie said: “The SNP government has proudly announced the expansion of Scotland’s testing capacity but with the number of tests falling their testing strategy remains ineffective. 

“ The WHO [World Health Organisation] has stated that asymptomatic transmission of coronavirus is occurring. Why then are we not testing all asymptomatic frontline health, social care and other key workers regularly? 

“Having to change the testing eligibility guidance seven times in three months clearly shows that the Scottish Government got this badly wrong at the start of this pandemic and have been too slow to rectify the situation. 

“Without a rapid expansion in testing we cannot move to the “test, trace and isolate” stage and so cannot safely continue to ease the lockdown. It is time for the SNP government to swallow its pride and get to work to expand testing.”


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