Coronavirus: summary of response arrangements in Scotland

Scotland-specific groups and mechanisms by which we will deliver and coordinate our response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The governments of the UK have today published a coronavirus action plan which sets out our collective approach to the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus.  

The publication of the Action Plan reflects the closely integrated planning process for an event such as this, and, recognising our respective roles and responsibilities and our distinct legal framework, the Scottish Government will continue to work closely with the UK Government, the Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Executive as part of a coordinated response.

Some aspects of the resilience and response arrangements are unique to Scotland, and this paper summarises some specific groups and mechanisms by which we will deliver and coordinate our response.   

Scottish Government Resilience Room (SGoRR)

SGoRR has been activated to coordinate all Scottish Government activity in response to coronavirus, to ensure that Ministers are provided with daily updates, and to support the development of plans and policies.  

It coordinates regular meetings of the Scottish Government Resilience Committee, which brings together Ministers and senior officials to discuss and where required make decisions regarding critical elements of the response.  

It also works closely with the equivalent COBR structures in the UK Government to ensure clear sharing of the latest information and assessments.  

Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and Deputy Chief Medical Officer (DCMO)

Alongside officials from Health Protection Scotland, the CMO and DCMO are members of the cross-UK groups which assess the latest international scientific evidence regarding coronavirus, and provide daily updates and advice to Ministers and to our health and social care systems.  

The NHS in Scotland 

The NHS plans and prepares for a range of emergencies, in order to minimise disruption as far as possible and to ensure the continuity of essential services. The NHS has been specifically preparing for the possibility of a wider outbreak of coronavirus since the beginning of the outbreak in Wuhan.  

In Scotland, Health Boards have powers to place restrictions on the activities of individuals who are known to have the disease, or have been exposed to the disease, and to prohibit them from entering or remaining in any place. Boards may also apply for court orders for quarantine and medical examination.

To ensure close monitoring of the situation, public health regulations have been amended in Scotland to make coronavirus (COVID-19) a notifiable disease, and testing arrangements for coronavirus are being expanded across Scotland.

Health Protection Scotland

Established plans and procedures are in place to detect and isolate the first cases of coronavirus as they emerge. Once a case has been detected, Health Protection Scotland use tried and tested procedures for rapid tracing, monitoring and isolation of close contacts, with the aim of preventing further spread.

Resilience Partnerships (RPs)

These groups include representatives from police, fire, ambulance, local authorities and health boards, among other key partners such as the utilities and social care sectors, and in Scotland are referred to as “Resilience Partnerships”, or RPs. The three Regional RPs, which bring together all the relevant response organisations in the East, West and North of Scotland, are further supported by local groups operating at a community level.  

These arrangements allow for strong collaboration and the ability to adapt to any emergency, and have been well-tested in recent years both in real world incidents and as part of our extensive exercising programme, including for a pandemic outbreak.  

Scottish Resilience Partnership (SRP)

A national group, comprised of the most senior statutory responders and key resilience partners. The SRP acts as a strategic policy forum for resilience issues, providing collective assurance to Ministers and advising the resilience community.

Public information in Scotland

The Scottish Government is currently working closely with the NHS in Scotland, as well as the UK Government and other devolved administrations, to ensure the provision of consistent and up-to-date public health advice.

Full and up-to-date advice is available from NHS Inform, including 

  • what to do and who to contact if you have symptoms
  • how to prevent infection
  • high-risk areas around the world
  • advice on self-isolation
  • a helpline for those who do not have symptoms and are looking for general information

More advice on travel can be found on Fit for Travel.

Health Protection Scotland also publish detailed guidance, including for healthcare and education settings and for first responders in contact with potential cases of coronavirus.

The Scottish Government is publishing numbers of test results, updated daily.  

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