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Scottish Labour calls on government to step up efforts to protect healthcare staff

by Niall Christie

Scotland editor

SCOTTISH LABOUR has called for the Scottish government to step up its efforts to protect the healthcare workforce as it tackles the pandemic.

In a parliamentary debate on Wednesday, ministers refused to back a motion, tabled by MSP Monica Lennon, calling for greater protections to be put in place to support those on the front line. 

SNP and Green MSPs voted against the measure, which sought to address an increasing number of hospital-acquired Covid-19 cases, clinical backlogs and concerns by the British Medical Association that inoculation targets were in danger of being missed. 

The government amendment, in the name of Health Secretary Jeane Freeman, passed by 64 votes to 58 and welcomed the vaccination rollout to the majority of care home residents and blamed the “patchy” supply on “factors outwith the control” of government. 

Scottish Labour called for better protective equipment as a matter of urgency, saying that enhanced protection was crucial in the fight against coronavirus and restarting services, and has asked for the healthcare workforce to receive their full vaccination by the end of February. 

Ms Lennon said: “The British Medical Association has sounded the alarm and safety concerns must be addressed. 

“Trade unions have spoken out about the increased pressures staff are facing now. Healthcare staff have been working tirelessly since the start of the pandemic to save lives. 

“The Scottish government must act faster on vaccine rollout, testing and PPE concerns. The remobilisation of the NHS needs to be in safe hands or more lives will be lost to threats beyond the virus. 

“Scottish Labour will continue standing up for all healthcare staff and those they care for.” 

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