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Coronavirus / Response to Covid-19 costs health board over £1.7m

NHS Shetland chief executive Michael Dickson in the reopened Ronas Ward at the Gilbert Bain Hospital. Photos: Chris Cope/Shetland News

THE ADDITIONAL cost to NHS Shetland this year resulting from the response to Covid-19 stands at over £1.7 million.

NHS Shetland chief executive Michael Dickson said the money has been spent “carefully”, adding that the figure reiterated the hard work of staff over the last number of months.

A freedom of information request revealed that as of 28 July the additional costs recognised by the health board was £1.785 million.

The figure is a melting pot of additional costs which includes extra staff time, significant infrastructure and PPE.

The Ronas Ward of the Gilbert Bain Hospital for instance was revamped from a training unit to a potential surge space for Covid-19 patients, while a respiratory care unit was also introduced.

“What this figure reflects are the hours of work and dedication of NHS Shetland staff who have worked tirelessly to ensure Shetland is able to withstand a pandemic the likes of which have not been seen in our lifetime,” Dickson said.

“We have made significant structural changes to NHS Shetland facilities, including the respiratory care unit, a dedicated PPE store for Shetland and the drive through testing pod.

“I know we have spent money carefully and would rather be over prepared than have any patient suffer harm because we couldn’t meet their needs.​”

Figures presented to elected members earlier this summer, meanwhile, showed that as of the start of July the extra costs associated with Covid-19 to Shetland Islands Council was £2.4 million.