We fully recognise the demands our NHS staff have been under over the past few months and we will be forever indebted to them.
As an early indication of our gratitude we gave our NHS staff a £500 thank-you bonus, and a commitment to fair pay.
The SNP Government has now offered our 154,000 NHS Scotland Agenda for Change staff a substantial pay rise, rejecting the 1% proposal made by the Tories – and offering a proper pay rise of at least 4%.
This also means a guaranteed increase of £1000 for anyone paid less than £25,000.
Our offer means a nurse at the top of Band 5 in Scotland would be over £1,300 better off after tax and National Insurance than their counterparts in England – taking home over 5% more.
Scotland has the best paid NHS staff in the UK, and over the course of this parliament we will ensure that this continues to be the case.
We have over 21,500 more staff in Scotland’s NHS now than when the SNP came into government. We will recruit at least 1500 more NHS staff to deliver our elective centre programme and increase specialist capacity.
We will further expand medical school training places by at least 100 per year and double the number of places on the Widening Access to Medicine programme to help create a more diverse medical workforce.
Unlike the UK Government, we are completely committed to maintaining a nursing bursary and free university tuition, ensuring that we continue to attract the best people to train for nursing and midwifery roles. We have now raised the grant for all student nurses to £10,000 a year.
We will now create a student paramedic bursary to help support the paramedics of the future during their training.
We will expand the occupational health and mental health support for NHS staff, and work with staff to help shape the nature and scope of provision.