Nicola Sturgeon: NHS in Scotland there for those who need it
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has defended the performance of NHS Scotland, saying it currently enjoys “record levels of investment and record levels of staffing”.
Appearing on the BBC’s Today programme this morning, Sturgeon was asked to comment on claims that NHS Grampian is bracing for a difficult winter as well as reports, highlighted by Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross during yesterday’s FMQs, that a patient waited more than 32 hours for an ambulance.
The first minister noted that health secretary Humza Yousaf had announced additional spending for the health service this week, the plan being to recruit 750 nursing staff from overseas to see the NHS through winter.
“The NHS is there for people when they need it,” she said, adding that it is “under very severe and significant challenge right now, waiting times are longer than we want them to be but we’re working extremely hard with the NHS to support it.”
“It is import that we have record levels of investment and record levels of staffing – I’m not suggesting it’s enough, I’m putting it there as context,” she said.
“Demand is rising so we have to raise the capacity of the health service to meet that demand and we have to change the way it’s delivered [so it is] in the right place at the right time when [people] need it.”
Stressing that social care is a “significant part” of that, Sturgeon highlighted the government’s plan to centralise social care services across Scotland, noting that the proposed National Care Service would “build capacity in that part of the system” while also ensuring “consistency in the way it’s delivered”.