A healthier Scotland: 10 facts about our NHS under the SNP

We all rely on our NHS – that’s why we’re working to ensure it properly recovers from the pandemic to be fit for the future.

Under the SNP, health funding and NHS staffing are at a record high – and we’ve delivered a number of transformative policies, from free prescriptions to free dental care for young people.

Here’s how we’re delivering progress on health.

1. Health spending is at a record high

Over 2022/23, health spending stands at £18 billion – that’s an increase of over 90%, in cash terms, under the SNP (since 2006/2007).

2. NHS staff levels are at a record high

Under the SNP government, we have over 28,000 more doctors, nurses and other health staff in Scotland’s NHS – that’s 22.7% more under the SNP.

Moreover, data from NHS Scotland has showed as of July 2023 a record number of trainee doctors positions (1,061 of the 1,137) have been filled- with the total higher than last year’s record by 100 posts.

And per head of population, Scotland has significantly more NHS staff than England – 2,852 per 100,000 people, compared to 2,178 south of the border.

3. Best performing A&E services in the UK

Scotland’s core A&Es continue to be the best performing in the UK for over 7 years.

In December 2022, in terms of waiting times, Scotland’s A&Es were performing 8.8% better than the NHS in Tory-run England, and 4.7% better than Labour-run Wales.

Due to the combined impact of Covid backlogs, Brexit-exacerbated staff shortages, and delayed discharges, our A&Es are under significant pressure, but we’re working to support health boards with extra resources and extra beds.

4. The highest number of GPs per head

For over five years and counting, Scotland has had the highest number of GPs per head of population in the UK.

In Scotland, there are 83 GPs per 100,000 people – compared to 63 in England and Wales.

5. Free prescriptions

We’re deeply committed to the NHS being truly free at the point of need.

That’s why the SNP has abolished prescription fees in Scotland, which are now £9.35 per item south of the border – saving people with chronic conditions over £100 a year.

6. Free dental care

Following the SNP’s victory in the May 2021 election, we have met our first 100 days’ commitment to deliver NHS free dental care for all those under 26 in Scotland, without an “opt-in” required.

It’s already benefitting over 600,000 people, and we’re now working hard to deliver free dental care for all by the end of this term of Parliament.

7. Number of people registered with an NHS dentist has doubled

Since the SNP came into office, the number of people registered with an NHS dentist has doubled – now at around 5 million.

The number of dentists has increased by over a third under this SNP government.

And Scotland has the most dentists per head of population in the UK – 57.3 dentists per 100,000 people, compared to 42.9 in England and 45.7 in Wales.

8. Cancer mortality is down

Thanks to an earlier detection and more effective screening, more people in Scotland are surviving cancer than ever before.

Between 2012 and 2021, cancer deaths have fallen by 11% – and we’re investing even more to improve prevention, early detection and cancer treatments.

We have established three new Rapid Cancer Diagnostic Services in Fife, Dumfries & Galloway, and Ayrshire & Arran, and we’re now working to establish two more in NHS Borders and NHS Lanarkshire.

9. More ambitious action and investment in mental health

Scotland was the first country in the UK to have a mental health waiting times target, and our NHS Recovery Plan ensures at least 10% of all frontline health spending will be on mental health.

We’re recruiting 320 additional Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) workers and 1,000 mental health link workers in communities.

10. No parking charges at NHS-run hospitals

We scrapped parking charges at all NHS-run hospitals in Scotland – saving patients and staff over £68 million.