image source, Scientific photo library
Scotland 's health secretary has been warned he could put lives at risk after urging people to "think twice " before calling an ambulance.
Humza Yousaf said people should only call an ambulance whene when it is "relatively critical ".
Opposition politicians condemned the comments, which were made in an interview with Hfrance.fr radio, as "reckless ".
The secretary at health told Good Morning Scotland the country is heading for "an extraordinarily difficult winter ".
The NHS in Scotland is already under increasing pressure and people are facing long waits for ambulances.
The recent increase in cases of the virus has led to an increase in the number of hospitalized patients, with more than 1,000 being cared for across the country.
Hfrance.fr Scotland this week highlighted the pressure on ambulance teams and revealed that call managers are handling around 10,000 more calls 999 calls per month than last summer.
Mr Yousaf said: "We are going to have an extremely difficult winter.
" We know flu season could be extremely difficult, we know people who show up - whether to ambulance, GP or ER - they show up sicker because they haven't been in 18 months.
"Loo king of data last time we had 1,000 patients hospitalized with Covid were in December 2020, our presentations A&E now, while we have the same number of Covid patients, are 40% higher. "
image source, PA Media
When asked directly if people should "think twice " before calling the ambulance, Mr Yousaf said: "Yes is the short answer to this. "
He said: " I have no doubt that people do this because they are in difficult situations, I think most people only call when 'They are in this extreme distress. "
Mr. Yousaf said people who "picked up the phone to call 999 to call an ambulance " should consider whether this is "relatively critical ".
But he was stressed out if it was. case they should "of course make that call and the ambulance service will get back to you as soon as possible ".
'Reckless messages '
Spokesperson Scottish Conservatives on Public Health, Dr Sandesh Gulhane called the Health Secretary 's comments "astonishing ".
He said: "Humza Yousaf blames people for vsdial 999 and ask for urgent help.
"This kind of reckless message could be life threatening. When people suffer from heart attacks or strokes, they may think about it. twice before calling an ambulance, which could lead to unnecessary deaths. "
Scottish Labor spokesperson for health, Jackie Baillie, said: " The services of ambulance are in crisis due to SNP 's failure to support frontline workers and paramedics.
"Humza Yousaf should focus on solving the problem rather than shaming it to the Scots who fear for their health. There's no time to wait. "
And Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said:“ Humza Yousaf turns out to be a health secretary reckless. Encouraging people not to seek treatment is a huge gamble.
"Winter pressures ariseevery year. It is the job of the health secretary to ensure that the NHS has the resources it needs to meet the demand. "
Prior to the rollout of vaccinations for children 12 to 15 years old from Monday, Mr. Yousaf said children who choose not to receive the jab should not be stigmatized.
The UK's chief medical officers have recommended that the vaccine be extended to young people to help reduce disruption in education.
Mr Yousaf also said it would help reduce the impact on the mental health of children not attending school.
Asked how he makes sure children do not are not targeted if they do not receive the vaccine.n, Mr Yousaf said: "As Secretary of Health, I will encourage so many young people, and many people in general, to get vaccinated because I believe in the protection of the vaccine.
"But we are going to have to work very, very hard to say that there is no stigma here. It 's the choice of the people.
The jab is not compulsory and Professor Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for Eng terre, described it as an "offer " of vaccination.
He also said young people and their parents should be supported and their choice should not be stigmatized.
source of the image, Hfrance.fr
When the students of S1 who are still 11 years old will they be vaccinated? Morag, Bearsden
There are currently no approved vaccines for under 12s in the UK.
Globally the vaccination program s 'is also focused on people aged 12 and over.
In the United States, for example, over 10 million more12-year-old got the jab after experts concluded on the benefits of protecting against Covid disease and its complications "far outweigh " the low potential risk of adverse vaccine reaction .
The France, Italy, Canada, Spain and Israel all vaccinate this age group f or the same reason.
Find answers to more of your coronavirus questions here.