THE SCOTTISH Government have hit back after Jeane Freeman was accused of "not having all the information" in the early stages of the pandemic.

The Scottish Affairs Committee heard yesterday from an NHS employee and trade union member who said that the cabinet secretary for Health did not always have the most up to date information about problems facing health workers.

Wilma Brown, NHS Fife’s employee director and activist for Unison, told MPs yesterday that Ms Freeman "wasn't always informed".

She explained: "I did find that sometimes the guidance that came out, especially in the early days, the Cabinet Secretary wasn't always informed of everything that was going on.

“Because in Unison we also had regular telephone conferences with the cabinet secretary, and there were a number of things that I raised to her around PPE that she was not aware of.

“I think that she's as good as what she's told but I don't think she was always told everything that was going on.”

She later expanded on her point, saying issues around PPE were not always known to the Scottish health secretary when Brown raised them but that after issues were raised they had been resolved quickly..

However now the Scottish Government have reacted to her comments, saying that all government ministers have "been kept well informed" throughout the pandemic.

A spokesman said: “This is the greatest public health challenge we have faced in our lifetimes

“From the outset, Scottish Ministers have been kept well-informed, with open communication with all NHS boards as the virus moved rapidly, demanding a fast response.

“In particular the Health Secretary remained in constant communication with Unison, the RCN, the BMA and Scottish Care to monitor the provision of PPE and address problems as they arose. Indeed when Ms Brown herself highlighted delivery issues they were quickly resolved."

He added: "All members of the NHS Workforce Senior Leadership Group – including Ms Brown - were made aware that they could approach the Health Secretary in relation to PPE provision and any concerns about aspects of the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Scottish Ministers have confirmed there will be a public inquiry into all aspects of the impact and handling of COVID-19, including care homes.

“Our immediate focus is on continuing to do everything necessary to save lives for the remainder of this pandemic, learning lessons and applying the knowledge that we have.”