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First Minister pays tribute to hard work over winter.
Ministers today thanked NHS staff for their hard work and dedication over the festive season.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon met call handlers at the Scottish Ambulance Service and NHS 24 control centre in Cardonald, Glasgow, to hear first-hand how they have dealt with the challenges, and to pay tribute to their on-going commitment.
Health Secretary Shona Robison also visited Perth Royal Infirmary to thank staff. She visited the Accident and Emergency and Medical Wards, and the Discharge Hub to find out about work to reduce delayed discharge.
This Christmas has seen the number of people in Scotland suffering from flu double compared to the same period last year.
The First Minister said: “Winter is always a busy time for our NHS, but this year has been exceptional. Everyone in the health service has worked extremely hard to deal with the additional pressures they’ve faced over the last few weeks.
“Thousands of staff across Scotland have missed out on precious time with friends and family to make sure patients have received the care and treatment they need over winter.
“I am very proud of all the NHS staff achievements in delivering this care during this period of sustained pressure, and we are determined to support them through this.
“The call handlers and NHS 24 staff I met today, and the Out of Hours teams they work with in each health board, do a tremendous job to keep the system moving and to alleviate some of the pressures on front line services.
“Our NHS and community health service do a fantastic job all year round, and I’d like to thank them once again for the dedication they have shown during this exceptionally busy winter period.”
Ms Robison said: “NHS Boards have robust planning in place for winter and we’re investing an extra £22.4 million across the NHS to deal with these exceptional pressures.
“We are working very closely with all NHS Boards to monitor the extent of pressures across Scotland.
“Individual boards will respond to pressures they are facing in line with winter planning. In some cases, this may involve deferral of outpatient or elective treatment. However, people across Scotland should be reassured that there is no blanket cancellation of non-urgent elective procedures for the month of January as is the case elsewhere in the UK.
“We can all play a part in ensuring demand on our most acute services is minimised by taking time to think of the best way to access advice and treatment – for example by using a pharmacy or a minor injuries unit for minor ailments or seeking health advice for some of the most common conditions at this time of year through NHS inform.”
Health advice is available through NHS Inform.