Nicola Sturgeon rubbishes 'bold' Tory claim NHS at risk under SNP

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NICOLA Sturgeon rubbished Douglas Ross’s “bold” assertion that the NHS successful Scotland is nether menace from privatisation by the SNP.

Following a BBC study which said wellness work leaders successful Scotland had discussed the imaginable instauration of a “two-tier” strategy that would complaint affluent patients for treatment, the First Minister was probed implicit the contented successful the Scottish Parliament.

During FMQs, the Scottish Tory person raised the leaked minutes of a gathering betwixt high-ranking officials, which said they had been fixed the “green light” by NHS Scotland main enforcement Caroline Lamb to sermon reforming the wellness service.

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Ross asked: “Is she denying these conversations took place, is she denying that NHS chiefs discussed a two-tier strategy successful Scotland’s NHS, oregon is she saying the minutes of this gathering are wrong?”

Sturgeon said it was “bold” for Ross to travel to the Holyrood enclosure and speech astir privatisation of the NHS.

She added: “The Conservatives, who person done much than immoderate different enactment successful these islands, and sometimes they’ve had stiff contention from Labour, but person done much than immoderate different enactment successful these islands to privatise the National Health Service.

“I’m intrigued though astatine Douglas Ross’s enactment of questioning. I did an interrogation connected Monday addressing the comments, the infinitesimal is there, I wasn’t denying past the speech took place, I’m not denying it now.”

The FM criticised Ross for utilizing the operation “plans”, erstwhile they were “conversations”.

She added: “Let maine fto Douglas Ross into what shouldn’t beryllium a concealed but helium intelligibly doesn’t recognize it - NHS leaders, nevertheless overmuch respect I person for them, and I person sizeable respect for them, bash not marque authorities policy.

“The Government makes authorities argumentation and the founding principles of the National Health Service, that this authorities has done much than immoderate to support and to enhance, are not, and arsenic agelong arsenic I americium First Minister, ne'er volition beryllium up for discussion.”

Ross further claimed that backstage attraction successful Scotland is up 84% since the commencement of the pandemic compared to the remainder of the UK, and past tried to suggest that NHS chiefs were operating “without ministerial direction”.

He added: “If the First Minister is to beryllium believed, they’re not listening to the Health Secretary but are going disconnected to hole the NHS connected their ain with nary authorities oversight. So is this yet different confirmation that Humza Yousaf is retired of power with Scotland’s NHS?”

The FM deed back: “Even by Douglas Ross’s ain standards, this is simply a beauteous lame and pathetic enactment of questioning. He talks astir a two-tier wellness work possibly he’s talking astir the 1 that already exists wherever the Conservatives are successful authorities successful England.

“There volition not beryllium a two-tier wellness work portion this authorities is successful bureau successful Scotland.”

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Scottish Labour person Anas Sarwar besides focused connected the contented of privatisation successful the NHS, claiming determination is “already a two-tier wellness strategy successful Scotland”.

He added: “Can the First Minister archer the enclosure however galore procedures were carried retired successful backstage hospitals successful the past year?”

The First Minister replied: “As I’ve conscionable said to Douglas Ross, the radical who self-fund for backstage attraction successful Scotland is little than it is successful England, importantly lower, and adjacent much importantly little than wherever Labour is successful authorities successful Wales. That is the reality because we support our wellness work and we ever will.”

Sarwar claimed determination were 39,000 patients treated privately successful Scotland past year, adding that the fig does not see those paying for backstage dentistry treatments.

The figures see thousands of hep and genu surgeries, costing an mean of £12,500 per patient.

Sarwar said: “The fig of radical present paying for attraction without wellness security has accrued by 72%.

“Often these are radical who are forced to get money, crook to household and friends, oregon adjacent remortgage their location to get healthcare that should beryllium escaped astatine the constituent of need.

“Let’s look astatine the facts – astir 2000 radical person gone for backstage attraction for endoscopies and colonoscopies – privately these treatments outgo an mean of £1995.

“Over 7800 person gone backstage for a cataract country – mean outgo £2660 – and a staggering 3500 radical person had a hep oregon genu replacement successful a backstage infirmary – mean outgo £12,500.

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“These figures marque wide that nether the SNP, healthcare successful Scotland is already a two-tier system.”

The FM said she does “not judge that determination was a two-tier wellness strategy successful Scotland”.

She besides said Sarwar failed to instrumentality into information the cancellation of attraction due to the fact that of the Covid pandemic.

Sturgeon added: “The 1 happening that was missing wholly from Anas Sarwar’s question there, of course, was notation to a planetary pandemic that caused the cancellation and the pausing of elected services successful our NHS for a sizeable play of time.

“That’s wherefore we’ve seen an summation successful those figures successful caller years, but these figures stay importantly beneath the comparable figures successful England and successful Wales.”