GLASGOW'S Louisa Jordan hospital could be opened up for general outpatient appointments if the Covid-19 curve continues to fall, Scotland's clinical director has said.

Professor Jason Leitch was asked if the hospital could be used as a 'Covid-free' hub for cancer patients who have had treatments including chemotherapy or surgery delayed due to the risks. Dedicated hubs have been created by NHS England.

He said it was more likely that hospitals such as the Golden Jubilee in Clydebank or private facilities would be used for cancer treatment but said it was possible that NHS Louisa Jordan could be used for other routine care.

Professor Leitch took part in a public question and answer session with the charity Cancer Support Scotland, which said it had been "inundated" with questions.

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He said: "We have to remember what the Louisa Jordan hospital is. It is an emergency hospital built inside a conference centre.

"It is not a nice, shiny Beatson. It's safe and it would have managed to treat downstream Covid cases if we had needed it and we will keep it there until we are sure we are not going to have a second peak.

"It has no operating theatres and it's not the kind of environment you would want to be in for long.

"It may be that we start to think of alternative uses for it but we are not going to do that lightly. I wonder if we might use it for outpatient care. Overnight care, I'm not certain that is something I would feel happy recommending unless it was absolutely necessary.

"What we might do is cancer care in places where we wouldn't normally do cancer care such as our private institutions or the Golden Jubilee. We might adjust the way we do cancer care as we re-start the health economy."

He said that it might be possible for routine cancer screening - currently suspended until June - to resume before that time and urged those with symptoms to call their GP.

He said vulnerable people, including those with cancer, who have told to shield for 12 weeks due to the risks are unlikely to be advised to stop protective measures after the three months passes.

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Professor Leitch said he was optimistic scientists chasing a vaccine "will get there" and said it is likely the most vulnerable people would receive it first such as cancer patients.

He said:  "There are around 200 trials going on. Only one is in phase two and it will almost certainly fail. One of those may be the one or it may be a combination. 

"The obvious thing would be to vaccinate the vulnerable - the slight caveat is that it would have to be tested in that population before we give it.

"It may be that it would to be tested on healthy individuals. Our desire is to vaccinate that group as fast as possible.

"The whole world needs that vaccine and I think they probably get there. Coronaviruses are notoriously difficult to vaccinate. This one doesn't appear to be changing which is good news because it means the vaccine can keep up with it.

"If this one stays as it is at 4 months it may mean that the scientists can catch up."

He said there may be an opportunity to easy lockdown and bring in "counter measures" towards the end of May but warned: "If your behaviour has changed in the last two weeks, you have misunderstood the disease because it has not gone anywhere."

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