SPENDING on private healthcare by the NHS in Scotland rose sharply last year to more than £80 million, new statistics have revealed.
Official Holyrood figures show £83.4 million was spent in 2012-13, compared with £68.7m the previous year. The Conservatives claimed the rising amount of money spent on private healthcare countered the SNP’s argument that the Scottish NHS was at risk from Westminster privatisation.
Tory health spokesman Jackson Carlaw MSP said: “These figures expose the SNP’s smear campaign about the future of the NHS in Scotland. For all the SNP’s tall talk on private healthcare, they have spent more than £400m on the sector since coming to power.
“The health service is completely devolved and SNP claims that a No vote threatens its existence is nothing but shameless scaremongering.”
A spokesman for health secretary Alex Neil said: “There is a stark contrast to the competition, privatisation and complicated reforms in England, which threaten the very foundations on which the NHS is built.
“In Scotland, the health secretary has been very clear that NHS boards should only use the private sector in exceptional circumstances.”