12 June 2024

Labour will ‘stop the chaos’ in the NHS, pledges Sarwar

12 June 2024

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar has said his party will “stop the chaos” in the NHS if it wins the General Election.

Ahead of a speech on the health service on Wednesday, the Glasgow MSP said funding sent to Scotland as part of UK Labour plans for the health service could provide 160,000 more appointments north of the border.

The Scottish Parliament holds the power over health, with funding determined by a population share of the amount spent by the UK Government on the area in England.

The NHS in Scotland has struggled in recent years with poor performance on A&E waiting times and more than 840,000 people waiting for a test or procedure.

The day after the General Election will be the NHS’s 76th birthday, and a Labour government will begin the process of rescuing it again

The health service, Mr Sarwar said ahead of the speech, was “in (Labour’s) very DNA”.

“The first step to save our NHS starts on July 4 when we can kick the Tories out of Downing Street – an opportunity we can’t afford to miss,” he said.

“The day after the General Election will be the NHS’s 76th birthday, and a Labour government will begin the process of rescuing it again.

“After 17 years of the SNP, the NHS in Scotland is at breaking point. Scottish Labour is committed to protecting the NHS in Scotland for the generations to come and making sure it is fit for the future.

“To achieve this, we must value our dedicated NHS workforce and improve access to care, as well as deliver long-term reforms to modernise services and bring care closer to communities.”

The “first priority” of a Labour government would be to tackle waiting lists, Mr Sarwar said, with “UK Labour’s plans (set to) deliver millions every year in health-related funding for Scotland”.

“But protecting the NHS is about more than reducing the backlog,” he added.

“The NHS of tomorrow must be rooted in local communities where Scots can easily and conveniently access healthcare services and have a greater say and input over their care.

“Labour will stop the chaos in Scotland’s health and care services, and reform them in line with Labour’s founding principles so that our NHS is fit for the future.”

Scottish Tory health spokesman Dr Sandesh Gulhane, however, accused Labour’s plans for the health service of being “light” on detail.

“The SNP’s 17 years of mismanagement has left Scotland’s NHS in permanent crisis mode,” he said.

“As a GP, I see firsthand how their inaction is failing more and more patients despite the best efforts of dedicated staff.

“Earlier this year, the Scottish Conservatives outlined our bold and ambitious plans to fix our NHS, including recruiting 1,000 extra GPs and to deliver a modern, efficient and local health service.

“By contrast, Labour’s plans are typically full of rhetoric, but light on how they will be delivered.”

The SNP has been contacted for comment.

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