Shetland coronavirus patients needing intensive care on the mainland will not be stranded on the island, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has said.
Ms Freeman said the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) would ensure that patients living on Scotland’s islands who need care on the mainland would be evacuated.
The commitment was made at Holyrood after Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart raised the fact that Shetland’s only hospital does not have an intensive care unit.
Shetland patients needing health facilities that are not on offer on the island tend to be treated in Aberdeen.
Ms Wishart, of the Lib Dems, sought assurances that patients from the islands would be carried out “safely and efficiently”.
Ms Freeman said she could confirm the SAS would “ensure the transfer of any patient from any of our islands who has a clinical need to do so”.
The Health Secretary said there had been an issue about around the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that was required by those piloting and accompanying patients on a fixed-wing aircraft. However, the issue has been resolved, she said.
Shetland has so far had 15 positive tests for cases of coronavirus. BP helicopters are bypassing the islands on their way to offshore platforms in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus.
Ms Wishart said: “I’m grateful for the assurances from the Health Secretary that plans are in place to transfer isles patients who need intensive care to the mainland. With no intensive care unit in Shetland, it’s crucial that any transfers are done as safely and efficiently as possible and that NHS staff and patients know exactly how that will happen.”