Eleven Scottish NHS and care workers have died with Covid-19

Eleven NHS staff and care workers in Scotland have died with coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.

Speaking at her daily briefing, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said six NHS staff and five members of the social care workforce have died – though she stressed they would not have necessarily contracted the virus in their workplace.

Ms Sturgeon also revealed the latest daily coronavirus death toll stands at 1,415, up by 83 from 1,332 on Tuesday.

That figure for laboratory-confirmed coronavirus deaths is lower than the total of 2,272 fatalities linked to the virus published earlier on Wednesday by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) as it does not include suspected and probable Covid-19 infections.

The First Minister said 11,034 people have now tested positive for the virus in Scotland, up by 313 from 10,721 on Tuesday.

There are 114 people in intensive care with coronavirus or symptoms of it, a decrease of 12 on Tuesday, and 1,727 people are in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, down from 1,754 the day before.

Since March 5, 2,521 patients who tested positive for the virus have been discharged from hospital.

Ms Sturgeon also addressed the 743 “excess deaths” registered in Scotland and published in the NRS figures.

These are deaths recorded above the five-year average.

The vast majority, the First Minister said, could be attributed to Covid-19 – however 112 could not.

She said the number of excess deaths in Scotland is “far too high”, but is proportionately lower than similar figures seen in England and Wales.

The First Minister said those in residential homes are “very, very vulnerable” to the virus.

Close proximity between older people in care homes who may already have other conditions, the First Minister said, increases the likelihood of the spread of the virus.

She added: “The steps that we’ve taken so far are designed to ensure that they’re as safe as they possibly can be.

“We will continue to take whatever steps are necessary and appropriate to ensure that is the case.”

Jeane Freeman
Jeane Freeman

During the briefing, Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman announced a new benefit which would be paid to NHS staff not already covered by pension benefits.

If a member of staff dies while working, their family receive a payment of double their annual salary, however some NHS staff are not eligible for the payment.

Ms Freeman said: “I want to make sure that they and NHS bank and NHS locum staff are fully covered for the duration of this current crisis.”

The “Covid-19 linked comparable benefit”, the Health Secretary said, would “provide benefits in circumstances where staff are not covered by membership of an existing NHS pension scheme”.

Staff who are not eligible for maximum benefits under their pension scheme would also see the balance topped up by the new benefit.

The Health Secretary added that the principles of the scheme will be published on Friday, following conversations with trade unions, and the benefit would be available immediately and backdated if necessary.