The top priority of voters is making sure that our NHS fit for the future – and it will be our top priority too.
The NHS is our most cherished public service. In government we have a record of achievement to be proud of. Patients are now getting some of the best and fastest treatment of anywhere in the UK, with a record NHS budget and more staff than ever before. But there is much more to do.
Today Nicola Sturgeon set out the priorities of a re-elected SNP government to ensure the NHS is properly resourced, and designed to meet the challenges of the future. Here are our five key pledges:
We will protect the NHS budget.
We’ll increase the resource health budget in real terms in each year of the next parliament, passing on every penny of health resource Barnett consequentials in full.
We will shift the balance of care.
We’ll ensure primary care, social care, and mental health each receive an increasing share of the NHS budget in each year of the next parliament.
We will deliver five new flagship centres to deliver more operations.
We’ll invest £200 million to expand the Golden Jubilee Hospital and provide 5 new elective and diagnostic treatment centres across Scotland, so patients can get operations like hip, knee and cataract procedures as quickly as possible.
We will keep our NHS free at the point of need.
We’re committed to an NHS true to its founding principles of being free at the point of need, and owned by the people of Scotland. We totally reject the Westminster agenda of austerity, privatisation, and patient charging. We’ll keep prescriptions free for all – stopping this tax on the sick.
We will enhance specialist care.
We’ll continue to support specialist care, including building on our work tackling cancer through our £100 million Cancer Strategy aimed at improving preventative care, investing in detection and supporting quicker and better diagnosis, treatment and aftercare.
Shona Robison is Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing & Sport