SCOTTISH LABOUR accused the SNP of “hypocrisy” over the NHS yesterday after it was revealed the service had spent millions on private procedures because it is too under-resourced to meet demand.
A Freedom of Information request by Labour revealed that the bill for private operations in the NHS had rocketed to a staggering £50 million in the last year alone.
Labour shadow health spokesman Anas Sarwar slammed the SNP’s “hypocrisy” as they “campaign in elections against privatisation of our NHS while handing over increasing amounts of taxpayer cash to private health firms.”
Mr Sarwar said the NHS was not created to “line the pockets of private companies” and called for the money spent on private treatments to “be invested in frontline care, doctors, nurses and hospitals.”
“Spending more taxpayer cash on private health services is an indication of the problems experienced by our NHS,” he said.
“It is clear they don’t have the capacity or the resources to deliver the care patients across Scotland need. This is unfair on patients and also to our dedicated NHS workforce who are undervalued, under-resourced and overworked.”
Mr Sarwar called on First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to “get serious” and use the new powers of the Scottish Parliament to invest in public services.
The spat comes days after it was revealed that the SNP had missed 13 out of 19 of its NHS targets — and that spending on private nursing agency staff had hit almost £60m in the last five years.
Health Emergency campaign group director John Lister said public money spent on private procedures was “poor value for money” and “takes away resources which could be spent on front-line NHS care.”