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by Louise Wilson
24 November 2022
Scottish Government accused of running ‘two-tier’ health system

Scottish Government accused of running ‘two-tier’ health system

Nicola Sturgeon has denied claims that Scotland’s healthcare is running a “two-tier system” as increasing numbers of people are having to go private.

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross accused the First Minister of being “in denial” over the number of people not able to access treatment through the NHS.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said this went against the founding principles of the NHS.

He added: “Often these are people who are forced to borrow money, turn to family and friends, or even remortgage their homes to get healthcare that should be free at the point of need.”

But the First Minister said her government had done more than any other party to protect those founding principles.

She pointed to figures indicating that the proportion of Scots accessing private healthcare remained lower per head of population than either England and Wales.

“As we continue to progress the NHS recovery plan, get more operations done and within waiting times in the National Health Service, we will continue to see the benefits of NHS care, free at the point of need, for everyone across Scotland,” she added.

The exchange between party leaders follows a BBC report into draft minutes of a meeting between NHS leaders, in which they apparently discussed charging for some treatments and bringing in a “two-tier” system.

Sturgeon said: “None of these ideas that would have any impact on the founding principles of the National Health Service are not being discussed or remotely considered by this government.”

Ross said the response of the government to the report suggested there was a “breakdown of communication” between NHS directors and the SNP.

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