Sturgeon under pressure to SACK Scottish health secretary as SNP blunder sparks outrage

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The blunder saw those people being told by health bosses they could leave their homes from today instead of the actual date of June 18. In March, those who are deemed clinically at high risk of coronavirus were placed in a special “shielded” category and were advised to self-isolate for three months.


 

This included more than two million people around the UK and 180,000 in Scotland.

The letters were sent by Scottish NHS officials in April but the mistake was only revealed last week after concerned people flagged the mistake.

However, at today’s coronavirus briefing, Nicola Sturgeon extended the deadline for those who are shielding to July 31.

Speaking at the briefing, she told those who have been shielding for the past three months it “really does matter” the guidance continues to be followed.

 

She said: “I don’t know from my own personal experience just how difficult this has been for you, I’m not going to pretend to you that I do.

“I know that many of you listening today will be very disappointed that shielding is to continue for some time yet.

“It’s not a decision we take lightly it’s one that weighs very heavily on all of us including on me, but it is for your protection.”

Rival political opponents are now calling for Jeane Freeman MSP, Scotland’s health secretary to resign and apologise.

Monica Lennon MSP, Scottish Labour health spokeswoman, said: “Lockdown has been toughest for the thousands of Scots who are shielding.

“It’s deeply disappointing and worrying to now learn that one in 10 of the Scots most at risk from COVID-19 have been sent misleading information.

“Telling them they can stop shielding 10 days ahead of the date the Scottish Government believes to be safe is confusing and potentially dangerous.”

Jackson Carlaw, Scottish Conservative Leader, added: “Jeane Freeman was already on borrowed time before coronavirus hit.

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“But as this crisis has unfolded, a number of issues have unfolded on her watch which were completely avoidable, and enough is enough.

“The testing structure under the SNP has been a disaster, to the point where care homes have been left in the lurch, and now she can’t even say when hospital staff will be routinely tested.

“Nicola Sturgeon has to take the blinkers off and find someone who can actually get on top of these problems.”

In response to the concerns, the First Minister said the Scottish Tory comments were “disgraceful”

She added: “It’s party politics at its worst, they should be assumed of themselves.”

The FM says that she “deeply regretted” the letter blunder.

Nicola Sturgeon also said no new coronavirus deaths have been reported in Scotland in the last 24 hours with the 2,415 staying the same.


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