The Scottish Government acted quickly to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed by Covid-19, but it could have been better prepared to respond to the pandemic.
Staff across the NHS and Scottish Government took early action during the first wave in 2020, including increasing intensive care capacity and pausing non-urgent treatment. Service innovation, such as a huge rise in video consultations, also happened within weeks and it is important these are learned from. However, there is now a substantial backlog of patients, with NHS boards prioritising those in most urgent need. It will be hard to deal with this backlog alongside the financial and operational challenges already faced by boards.
An error in the data was identified in paragraph 14 of the report and figures were corrected on 31 May 2021.