Coronavirus (COVID-19) Cross Party Covid Recovery Steering Group presentation - 16 December 2021

Presentations on COVID-19 modelling and medium term projections at the meeting of the COVID-19 Recovery Steering Group on 16 December 2021.

Scottish Government COVID-19 modelling update - medium term projections

Audrey MacDougall – Deputy Director Covid Analysis Division and Scottish Government Chief Social Researcher

What we know about Omicron

Based on data to 14 December 2021, we can estimate a doubling time for Scotland of between 2.36 – 2.48 days using S-gene target failure as a proxy for Omicron cases. We will continue to monitor the doubling times, which may fluctuate.

What the modelling tells us about the epidemic

The presentation included ‘figure 3 - confirmed Omicron variant of COVID-19 cases or highly probable or possible cases under investigation by specimen date (n=4252), as of 12 December 2021 17h, Scotland’. This was published in the Public Health Scotland COVID-19 and Winter Statistical Report.

The presentation included ‘figure 9 – daily infections’ that can be found in issue 82 of the ‘Modelling the Epidemic series’.

Health winter preparedness

John Burns – NHS Scotland Chief Operating Officer

Health and social care pressures

  • health and care systems across Scotland continues to experience significant pressure, which has been unrelenting for many months caused by a number of factors including COVID-19 demand, significant non COVID-19 demand, social care pressures and workforce availability. The emergence of the Omicron variant projects even greater demands through hospitalisations and workforce impact through COVID-19 and other absences through the winter months
  • part of the NHS’s acute capacity remains locked into managing the direct consequences of COVID-19 pressures, which is likely grow significantly over the next months due to the new variant and its transmissibility, and despite the excellent progress of the vaccination programme
  • urgent care in terms of A&E and acute beds, has been the subject of significant pressures. This is likely to be driven, in part, by COVID-19 cases and delayed discharges but also may reflect that patients with higher acuity are now attending A&E
  • health and Social Care Partnerships (HSCP’s) report a steep increase in demand for care both from those in the community, and in acute settings, especially for increased sizes of packages of care for care at home services
  • our health and care staff have been under considerable pressure for many months. They came into this pandemic as a tough winter was coming to an end in 2020, and have been working tirelessly since then. We understand how difficult it is for our health and social care teams as they work tirelessly to deliver treatment and care to people in their communities and I want to thank them for their dedication and commitment to the people of Scotland

Actions being taken and governance

Continued delivery of the actions from the package of over £300 million of investment in NHS and care services which are: -

  • supporting our staff to deliver high quality care, in the right place, at the right time covering action to expand the workforce and supporting the health and wellbeing of our staff
  • increasing capacity to meet demand and maintain high quality integrated health and social care services throughout autumn and winter, covering:
    • urgent and emergency care
    • routine and planned care
    • social care
    • primary care
    • NHS24 and SAS
  • supporting the public through clear and consistent messaging to make sure they access the right care, in the right place, at the right time
  • Systems Response Group (Gold) continues to meet to oversee progress on the above actions partnership approach which involves senior leaders from across the health and social care system including representatives from health boards, local government and central government

Measures to manage continued and projected pressures

  • as part of responding to the extreme pressures that could be faced by health and social care the overarching strategic position for the health and social care system will be:
    • maintaining urgent and emergency care to maintain critical and life threatening services
    • maximising capacity in our health and social care system
    • supporting our workforce
  • the planning principles we need to work to deliver the strategic intent are: -
    • maximise and realise all available capacity across NHS Scotland, Local Government and other relevant public bodies to support critical services
    • step-down all non-urgent activity and non-essential services
    • re-deploying staff from non-critical activities to areas of urgent need
    • minimise delayed discharge to ensure effective flow through health and social care systems
    • national and local coordination of NHS and social care messaging
  • letter issued to Board Chief Executives 10 December setting out expected delivery of actions already agreed, setting out planning principles and instruction that NHS Boards should step up arrangements to stop all non-essential clinical and non-clinical activity and deploy the released capacity and capability to critical areas
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