Scots urged to 'think twice' about calling ambulance amid NHS crisis
Humza Yousaf has urged Scots to think twice about calling an ambulance amid mounting pressure on the NHS.
Scotland's Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care said that the NHS is under mounting pressure which is putting strain on Scotland's system.
The warning comes as the health service is set to face an "extraordinarily difficult winter" with hospitals and GP surgeries having to deal with Covid as well as the winter flu.
On Tuesday (September 14) it was announced that the latest Covid figures showed there were 21 deaths recorded within the last 24 hours as Nicola Sturgeon announced plans for a booster vaccine.
Asked on the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme if people should "think twice" about calling an ambulance, Yousaf answered: "Yes is the short answer to that.
"I don't know that people do that because they are in distressing situations, I think most people will only call when they're in extreme distress.
"You can imagine the pressure that the ambulance service and our health service as a whole is under. So please do think about picking up the phone to call 999 to call an ambulance.
"Is it absolutely critical? If it is of course make that call and the ambulance service will get to you as quickly as they possibly can."
Mr Yousaf also stressed the ambulance service was being given an "extra £20 million injection" to help boost staff numbers.
The Scottish Government has already outlined £1 billion which will fund the NHS recovery plan in the wake of the pandemic.
When asked about funding and the increasing pressure, the secretary added: "We know that the flu season could be extremely challenging. We know that people who are presenting, whether it's to the ambulance service or GPs or A&E they are presenting more sick because they haven't presented in the last 18 months.
"I know from looking at the data, the last time we had 1000 patients in hospital with Covid was December 2020.
"I can't get away from the fact that we're in for an extremely challenging winter and that's why we're investing as much as we possibly can."