Nicola Sturgeon says Scottish Health Service is being ‘held back’ by UK government

Calls for the Scottish Health Minister to be sacked have been dismissed by Nicola Sturgeon as she says problems in the health sector are arising from English ‘political game playing’.

The ongoing problems that have surfaced within Scotland’s Health sector, including a rise in A&E wait times and health staff threating to strike, caused locals to lose faith in Scottish Health Secretary, Humza Yousaf, with people demanding for him to be demoted. 

child in blue hoodie sitting on floor

However, the First Minister has said she has ‘absolute confidence’ in Mr Yousaf and has stated the NHS in Scotland is performing ‘better in many aspects’ than the health service in England and Wales.

Addressing the looming strikes, which will include nurses, ambulance staff and physiotherapists if a deal is not reached, Ms Sturgeon said there was ‘political will’ in Scotland for a higher settlement, but finances were lacking.  

‘The management of the health service is absolutely the responsibility of the Scottish government, but our ability to put more resources into the health service depends on decisions taken by the UK government which determines the overall size of our budget’, she says.

Ms Sturgeon continues, ‘We can see from the higher pay increase that NHS workers are being offered in Scotland compared to England and Wales, that political will is there in Scotland – what is holding us back is a lack of funding, and that can only come now from the UK government.’  

However, although Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said the government cannot afford to give health workers the pay rise they have requested, health Secretary Steve Barclay has hinted towards the NHS receiving extra funding ahead of tomorrow’s fiscal statement.

Speaking at the annual conference of NHS providers in Liverpool today, Mr Barclay raised a concern with a newspaper report that suggested he didn’t think the NHS needed extra.

Mr Barclay said, ‘That is completely incorrect. The good thing about this is colleagues in the room will be able to see tomorrow.

‘I can assure you that the Treasury wouldn’t allocate any money to the department if the department said it didn’t need it, given the fiscal situation.’

NHS England’s budget is already set to rise by almost £5bn in 2023, but NHS bosses have warned it is still facing a £7bn shortfall due to inflation pressures.

Photo by Vladimir Fedotov


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