Hundreds of face-to-face appointments with GPs have been cancelled or rescheduled by NHS bosses in a bid to slash traffic levels around Glasgow during Cop26, with the city facing multiple road closures and possible rail strikes.
The climate conference will be held in the city starting on 31 October. It is expected that 25,000 people will attend and that 125 world leaders will attend.
Clyde and NHS Greater Glasgow said that online and virtual consultations will be preferred to in-person appointments ahead of the conference as a way to reduce road traffic.
In an attempt to reduce traffic around Glasgow, where there are also road closures and a possible strike, hundreds of patients will be offered virtual GP appointments before Cop26.
The summit is expected attract 25,000 delegates, up to 100,000 protestors and 125 world leaders to Glasgow next month. Pictured: Cop26 supporters march through Brussels
RMT Union also plans to strike over pay on 1 November to 12 Nov. This could cause additional disruption to those who plan to travel to Glasgow with public transport for Cop26.
For urgent care and cancer referrals, in-person appointments will be available.
Jackie Baillie from Scottish Labour’s Covid recovery and health spokeswoman said that hundreds would be disappointed with the move, having waited months to visit their GP due to the pandemic. She called it a recipe for disaster’.
Speaking to The Telegraph, she said: ‘This will come as a fresh blow to patients who have already been languishing on waiting lists for months.’
Other health officials expressed concern that Covid-19 infected in Glasgow from delegates from all parts of the world and countries with lower vaccination rates will rise.
Preparations for the Cop26 summit are underway at the Scottish Event Campus
For the Global Day for Climate Justice on 6 November, up to 100,000 protestors, including Extinction Rebellion members, are expected to descend upon the Scottish city.
Jillian Evans, head for health intelligence at NHS Grampian, stated that mass gatherings have ‘risks associated with them.
A spokesperson for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said that they were working closely with partners to ensure that robust plans are in place ahead of Cop26 to allow us to respond to the demands for healthcare during conference. This includes the temporary increase in population.
“All of our hospital facilities are open and will remain operational throughout the conference.”
The Scottish Event Campus will host COP26, which will be the most prominent event ever held in Scotland.
Operation Urram is a massive security operation that will see 10,000 officers and 200 police officers deployed daily, as well as officers on secondment from England.
Glasgow is likely to be affected by road closures throughout the summit.
Specialist ‘protest removal’ squads will be ready to crack down on any illegal disruptions, with the Armed Forces and coastguard on alert for serious threats.
Glasgow is also facing protests from Extinction Rebellion, Insulate Britain, and Greenpeace. The sheer number of additional visitors to the city causes more disruption, which is further exacerbated with RMT union rail strikes, and key road closings.
COP26 has been described as the ‘last best hope for the world to get its act together’ on climate change – but China’s President Xi Jinping and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will not attend, delivering a blow to hopes of substantial progress.
The Queen is expected to join Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince William at a banquet of delegates on the 1st November.