Professor Jillian Evans of NHS Grampian has said staff in the healthcare sector are struggling with the workload resulting from new variants of Covid-19.
This comes on the day that Scotland has implemented strict laws on people entering the country – more than a year after the first case of coronavirus was found in the nation.
From 4am on Monday everyone coming into Scotland will be required to go into ‘managed isolation’ for 10 days.
This comes at a cost of £1,750 per person with six Scottish hotels spread between Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow being used.
However, England is only requiring people to isolate if they come in from one of 33 ‘red-list’ countries.
This means a person returning to Scotland would be able to fly into England and get a bus or a train back into the country, providing they didn’t come in from one of England’s red-listed nations.
Scottish Transport Minister Michael Matheson accused the UK Government of “undermining” Scotland’s new laws last week.
‘Staff say they’re on their knees’
Professor Evans, an expert on public health, said on Monday morning that hospital and healthcare staff are “fatigued and exhausted” and that the new laws have came in far too late.
She said: “Staff say they’re on their knees. They are tired. That’s not just staff in hospitals, that’s health and social care staff too.
“I do have every sympathy for how fatigued and exhausted people are feeling in health and social care now.
Ms Evans went on to add: “We’re hearing about changes in New Zealand this morning when they’ve found three cases. Straight away, the border controls with Australia were back in place.
“Those countries that have used border controls early on have fared significantly better than the UK. It could be something that we come to understand as a way of life for sometime yet.”
Needs to be more consistency
The different policies across the UK nations has been widely criticised in recent days.
Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman insisted that “serious thought” should be given to border checks last Friday, just days before the new rules became law.
And while Ms Evans didn’t say whether border controls should come into effect, she did concede there needs to be more consistency among the UK nations.
“In my view, from a public health perspective it would be far better to have a consistent policy applied consistently across all of the countries in the UK. That makes it easier for people to comply and adhere to the rules.
“We know that the new variants will exist in other countries too so you can’t be sure that because you come from a country outside of that red list you’re safe.
“Many people will have to board a train or a bus to come back to Scotland (from England) and that leaves themselves and others open to risk if they’re infectious.”