OUTPATIENT appointments at a Glasgow hospital have been cancelled due to expected travel disruption at the start of COP26.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde confirmed that a "small number" of patients due to attend the West of Scotland Ambulatory Care Hospital on Monday November 1 have had appointments rescheduled or relocated to alternative sites.

It is understood that the number of appointments booked for November 1 had already been drastically scaled back in anticipation of gridlock around the city.

The outpatient facility, located in the former children’s hospital building in Yorkhill, also operates a minor injuries unit.

HeraldScotland: Congestion and road closures will affect the areas around Yorkhill and KelvingroveCongestion and road closures will affect the areas around Yorkhill and Kelvingrove

In a statement, NHSGGC said: "As a result of the COP26 programme and associated road closures on 1 November, and given the expected disruption, we took the decision not to run any face to face clinical services from the West Ambulatory Care facility at Yorkhill.

"As a result of early planning, there should be minimal impact on patient appointments, with only a small number rescheduled or located to other sites.

"Anyone attending any of our facilities, particularly in Glasgow, over the next three weeks, should plan ahead to avoid disruption."

READ MORE: Face to face hospital appointments slashed to 'reduce road traffic' during COP26

The Herald previously revealed that hundreds of hospital appointments across the city were being postponed or switched telephone or video consultations to help reduce road traffic during the two week-climate summit, which gets underway on Sunday.

Scottish Conservative Shadow Health Secretary Dr Sandesh Gulhane MSP, said: “Residents should feel part of the COP26 conference, and not be negatively impacted by it.

“There is a balance to be struck between keeping Glasgow moving during COP26, whilst maintaining essential patient care.

“In the instances where a patient’s condition demands it, a face to face appointment is completely necessary and should go ahead.

“However, during the conference many patients may prefer not to travel, and an online appointment would suit them better. 

“The important factor is being flexible for the needs of patient, and ensuring they are at the heart of decision making.”

It comes amid warnings that the influx of over 25,000 delegates, campaigners and media from around the globe will trigger a spike in Covid infections.

HeraldScotland:

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf has said there is “absolutely a risk of Covid cases rising” after the event, but stressed that the Scottish Government is “not actively considering” additional restrictions at present.

The latest data shows that Covid cases are continuing to plateau at just over 2,500 per day, although virus-related intensive care admissions have more than doubled over the past week from an average of 3.7 to 8.3 per day.

Mr Yousaf said Scotland was “on track” to deliver booster jags on time to eligible adults.

READ MORE: What's really behind the NHS winter crisis?

The boosters are being administered at 24 weeks from a second vaccine dose to reboot immunity in older adults and those with underlying health conditions.

The rollout is seen as a vital measure to ease pressure on hospitals over winter at a time when many are already at capacity.

To date 511, 807 people in Scotland - mostly care home residents, over-80s, and frontline health and care workers - have had a booster, with the rollout currently extending to over-70s.

Appointment letters are also going out to those aged 60 to 69 and appointments for over-50s will open from mid-November.

Mr Yousaf said: “Appointments for both vaccines are being scheduled based on clinical need and age and it will take until the middle of January for everyone to be offered their vaccines.”

HeraldScotland: The COP26 conference will take place from October 31 to November 12 at venues in and around the SSE HydroThe COP26 conference will take place from October 31 to November 12 at venues in and around the SSE Hydro

Dr Christine Tait-Burkard, an expert in infectious diseases at Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute, said imposing further Covid measures right now was “probably not quite warranted”, but added that the return of schools following the October holidays in addition to COP26 posed a danger.

She added that while it would be “unpopular for the hospitality sector”, vaccine passports should be extended to a wider range of venues if infections rise.

“It’s a relatively easy measure because for 80 to 90% of the population, above 40 especially, are vaccinated,” said Dr Tait-Burkard.

“For them it will be the imposition of having to show a certificate, but apart from that it doesn’t really take away freedoms.”

READ MORE: Plan B? Why Scotland's experience tells us it might not be enough

Robert West, emeritus professor of health psychology at University College London, compared COP26 to the G7 summit held in Cornwall in June which “clearly prompted a large number of cases”.

He added that more should be done to drive up “stalled” vaccination coverage and improve ventilation in public spaces.

“A lot of the people who are unvaccinated would get vaccinated if the communication was right, you could persuade them,” said Prof West.

“And a lot of it is about making spaces safer - ventilation, Hepa filters to filter out the virus particles in at risk places, and also things like bringing back some measure of social distancing where you can and it’s not really messing up people’s lives.”