ONE in three doctors in Scotland believe that delays to elective and non-urgent medical treatment and investigations have "increased significantly" since Omicron emerged.

One in five of the 700 clinicians who responded to the BMA Scotland survey, which was carried out in the first week of January, also said they had had to self-isolate due to Covid at some point in the previous two weeks.

And only 15% medics responding to the survey said they are regularly provided with FFP3 masks or respirators when working in clinical areas with confirmed or suspected Covid patients.

READ MORE: Why Omicron is pushing the NHS to the brink - even if it is milder

It comes as the number of NHS staff in Scotland absent due to Covid doubled in just two weeks to more than 7000 in the week ending January 11.This included 156 absences in the medical and dental workforce - equivalent to one in every 100 clinicians by headcount.

Dr Lewis Morrison, chair of BMA Scotland, said: "Not knowing how many of your colleagues will turn up for work on any given day, and what the consequences will be for your own workload, is mentally exhausting."

The UK Government announced that, from Monday, self-isolation for infected individuals will be cut from seven to five days in England if people test negative on a lateral flow device on days five and six.

READ MORE: Waning immunity in double-jabbed elderly driving increase in hospital admissions

The Scottish Government cut the self-isolation period from 10 to seven days last week to ease pressure on critical services.

Around one in 20 people in Scotland were estimated to be infected with Covid during the first week of January.