NHS Scotland - winter preparedness plan: 2020 to 2021

The Winter Preparedness Plan sets out, at a high level, the broad context and priorities for the NHS in Scotland until March 2021.

Supporting the Public

COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, a huge impact on people’s lives, both in terms of illness and the disruption of daily life due to lockdown restrictions, and we are committed to offering avenues of support for those in need and to supporting our citizens to make their best choices to protect their own health.

We are developing an evidence-based guidance for clinicians to help them evaluate symptoms and identify best pathways for patients, including referrals for serology. Designated COVID-19 helplines are in place to ensure that the public have clear knowledge of local and national restrictions. Further, these helplines provide information on how the public can prepare for winter, including protect themselves from winter health issues, and in so doing, explain how to access health care services in a safe and effective way. We are also supporting people to make positive health-promoting choices and be aware of what mental health help and support is available to them. Finally, we are supporting individuals who have a higher clinical risk from COVID-19 to make informed decisions about how to minimise their personal risks.

We will provide clear public communication to better support people to access the right health and care service this winter through:

  • A national campaign that encourages those who are eligible to get their free flu vaccine;
  • Continued public messaging that raises awareness of restrictions, hygiene measures and Test and Protect to help people understand how they reduce the spread of coronavirus;
  • A national NHS 24 campaign to inform people how to prepare for and protect themselves from winter health issues;
  • A national door drop leaflet to help people understand how to use NHS services this winter; and
  • A national campaign to help people understand changes to urgent care, providing the public with an understanding of how to access the right care in the right place.

We will continue to provide tailored information, advice and tools to those who have a higher clinical risk from COVID-19; with a focus on supporting their health and wellbeing. Mindful of the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on black and minority ethnic people, we will work with minority ethnic communities and organisations to ensure we get our messaging right and that it’s delivered in the right way. By December 2020, we will have updated and refreshed Clear Your Head to reflect the changing nature of the pandemic and how ongoing restrictions are impacting on people’s mental health.


Email: Winter_Planning_Team_Mailbox@gov.scot

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