Sun. Feb 5th, 2023


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Sturgeon spends £600K on ‘shambolic’ Covid passport app after refusing Westminster offer

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SNP ‘look at Westminster and disagree with it’ says Paul Sinclair

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NHS Scotland’s Covid Status app has been plagued with issues since it was launched on Thursday evening just hours before the scheme was set to go into effect. Many users reported being unable to verify their identities which was needed to log their double-jabbed status leading Scottish Lib Dems leader Alex Cole-Hamilton to brand it “shambolic”.

A vaccine passport will be required to access large events and venues under the Holyrood Government’s plans to control the spread of Covid during the winter flu season.

The outcry from frustrated users prompted an apology from the Scottish Government – which blamed the technical issues on the number of people accessing the app simultaneously.

A grace period means venues will not be liable for enforcement action before October 18 to allow the system to settle, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed.

It has since emerged that Scottish ministers declined an offer to join the Covid vaccine passport app used in England and Wales, the Daily Mail reported.

The UK Government confirmed it offered Scotland the opportunity to use the NHS Covid Pass via the NHS app but it elected to develop their own solution instead.

In response, the Scottish Government said it was told it would “take at least 12 months to get access to the NHS log-in” required for the NHS app, saying England and Wales share more infrastructure.

The paper also reported that Scotland’s app was developed by Danish IT firm Netcompany, after being appointed in June by NHS National Services Scotland with a contract worth up to £600,000.

The Scottish Conservatives slammed the news.

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Leader Douglas Ross saying: “This is becoming an omnishambles – the SNP’s scheme is lurching from one issue to the next, all at the very last minute.”

Tory MSP for North East Scotland Maurice Golden added on Twitter: “The SNP ignored warnings about their vaccine passports scheme. Rushed it out at the last minute.

“And now the Health Secretary is advising people to ignore it. You couldn’t make it up.”

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf told Bauer Radio: “We delayed enforcement of the certification scheme because we wanted to make sure that the system had time to bed in, to set in, to test in.

“Therefore there’s nothing within the regulations that means you should be turned away from the nightclub door or turned away from the turnstiles this weekend.”

The Scottish Government said that it had “increased the capacity of the NHS systems that sit behind the app”, adding: “As a result, we are seeing increasing numbers of people now able to access their records.”

A UK Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman said: “We have worked closely with the devolved administrations to make it as easy as possible for people across the UK to access their Covid-19 vaccine status.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “England and Wales share some of their infrastructure, which is why Wales can use the NHS app.

“We don’t have the NHS log-in required for the app in England and were informed it would take at least 12 months to be able to get access to the NHS log-in.’ has contacted the Scottish Government for comment.

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