Coronavirus (COVID-19) Cross Party Covid Recovery Steering Group minutes: 10 November 2021

Minutes from the meeting of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Cross Party Covid Recovery Steering Group on 10 November 2021.

Attendees and apologies

Members in attendance (by virtual conference)

  • John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Covid Recovery (Scottish Government) (Chair)
  • Humza Yousaf MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care (Scottish Government)
  • Jackie Baillie MSP (Scottish Labour)
  • Beatrice Wishart MSP (Scottish Liberal Democrats)                                                                                       
  • Murdo Fraser MSP (Scottish Conservatives)
  • Ross Greer MSP (Scottish Greens)

A number of Scottish Government officials also attended the meeting.

Items and actions

Welcome and minutes of the last meeting  

The Chair welcomed members to the Group’s seventh meeting and advised that Humza Yousaf, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, would be joining for this session.

Members were invited to contact the Deputy First Minister’s office if they had any comments on the minutes of the previous meeting.

Booster programme

Mr Yousaf followed by Stephen Gallagher (Director for Vaccine Strategy & Policy) provided an overview of the pace and scale of the current COVID-19 Vaccine Programme, noting that: from 6 September to 9 November, over 2.9 million vaccination doses have been delivered and that in the latest week (from 1 to 7 November), 494,000 doses had been delivered. NHS Boards have responsibility for the management of the vaccine programme in their own areas, which includes: providing vaccine centres, outreach to care homes and appointment systems including on-line booking.

Members then discussed: 

  • the approaches taken by different NHS Boards to the vaccine rollout
  • concerns over inconsistent delivery in some parts of Scotland
  • variation in booking and appointment systems
  • the need to prevent extensive waiting times at vaccine centres
  • workforce pressures

COVID-19 recovery strategy

The Scottish Government’s Director for COVID-19 Recovery, Mary McAllan, delivered a presentation on the relationship between the COVID-19 Recovery Strategy, the recovery plans for Health, Justice and Education and the National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET).

In response to the presentation, members discussed a range of issues, including:

  • the development of wraparound support directly to households with social, economic and health related challenges
  • partnership working with Local Government and the role of enterprise agencies in regional economic development
  • the central role of tackling inequality
  • the timescales involved in delivering the different recovery plans
  • how to address the legacy of pandemic related issues faced by students, young people and the wider education sector
  • employment skills and skills development

COVID-19 winter readiness

Audrey MacDougall (Chief Social Researcher) and John Burns (Chief Operating Officer NHS Scotland) updated the Group on Scottish Government planning and modelling in relation to COVID-19 winter scenarios and NHS pressures.

In response to the presentation, a range of issues were discussed, including:

  • risk assessment for the winter months incorporates the potential impact of factors like COP26, COVID-19, weather and Brexit related issues
  • the pressures facing the care sector including an increased demand for care packages
  • the role COP26 may have on COVID-19 figures
  • the role of the COVID-19 and flu vaccine booster programme
  • pressures on NHS and Care Service workforce

The Deputy First Minister thanked members for their feedback and suggested that the Group return to the discussion on the challenges of winter pressures once COP26 is concluded.

Focus and timing of the next meeting

The Deputy First Minister suggested that a follow up discussion on winter pressures be the focus of the next meeting.


Deputy First Minister asked officials to:

  • provide Ms Baillie with more details on the modelling methodology
  • canvas group members to seek a suitable date for the next meeting


No other business was raised.

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