The first minister has announced a £500,000 cash boost to health boards to offer support to health and social care workers.
Speaking at today’s coronavirus daily briefing, Nicola Sturgeon said extra funding to provide “practical support”.
The money would be given to health boards and health and social care partnerships to implement requests from staff, such as free hot drinks or snacks during breaks.
The first minister said it “could be the little things that help quite a lot”.
She added: “I’m flagging this up today just as a way of underlining how much we owe our health and care workers, but also as an example of what we’re trying to do to support them in practical ways while they continue to perform such an incredible service for all of us.
“I don’t think we’ll ever be able to repay those on the front line of health and social care for everything they have done and everything they have suffered over the duration of this pandemic.
“But in every way we can, it’s important to support them and to show our gratitude.”
In May, a national well-being hub was launched to provide online support for health care workers and their families, which also included a 24/7 helpline dedicated to them.
The money will be available to help address issues which have been raised directly by these health and social care workers.
Launch of Scottish child payment
Ms Sturgeon addressed how the economic impact of Covid has strained families always struggling to make ends meet.
She highlighted an additional source of support that will soon be available to many parents and carers.
The Scottish child payment was planned before the pandemic, but Ms Sturgeon said “the importance of it is even greater”.
It is designed to help families that are struggling financially, on the lowest incomes, and those who are on certain tax credits and benefits.
Under the scheme, families will be allocated an additional £40 every four weeks, initially payable for every child under the age of six.
Eventually, the programme will include all children.
Since its launched, the Scottish Government has already received 63,000 applications.
Caution when visiting shops
The first minister thanked everyone working in the food and retail industry for their hard work to “keep the country going”.
Ms Sturgeon reminded everyone that shopping for food should be “one of the few reasons why we should be leaving our homes”.
However, she emphasised that the activity is not “risk-free”.
Joining the First Minister is Chief Nursing Officer Professor Fiona McQueen. https://t.co/4K7TvYu9IZ
— Scottish Government (@scotgov) January 22, 2021
She said: “The new variant is spreading faster and more easily so it is all the more important that when we do go to a shop, right now as is essential, we do take the necessary precautions.
“Try to limit the amount of times you go shopping.
“Where possible order online. If you do go to a shop, and it’s busy, don’t go in – try somewhere else.
“Shop alone if you can, don’t go with other people. If that’s not possible and you need help to do your shopping, try to make sure you keep the group you’re with as small as possible.
“Remember, your face covering should be over your mouth and your nose.
“That’s really vital to make sure it’s giving you the protection that it’s designed to do but also that it’s giving the people around you maximum protection as well.”
Ms Sturgeon added that if the public follows the rules, “we could make shopping a safer experience” and help food retailers carry out their essential work.