SCOTTISH LABOUR leader Johann Lamont will say in a keynote speech in Edinburgh today that the future of the NHS should be taken out of the hands of politicians.
Ms Lamont will ask the Scottish Parliament to task an expert group with cross-party support to lead a public consultation into the NHS.
The expert group – to be agreed by all parties – would look at staffing, resources targets and capacity. All political parties would be bound by the findings of the group.
Ms Lamont will say: “All of the parties agreed during the referendum campaign that the NHS needs to be protected from privatisation but the real threat comes from rising costs and demographic change.
“For too long, party politics has got in the way of taking long-term decisions over our NHS. Time after time, vested interests have been put above patients. We know Scottish patients have suffered as a consequence of staff shortages, missed targets and lack of capacity.
“The only way we can move beyond this impasse is to take this issue out of the hands of politicians and put it in the care of the experts, who can work with the public to fix our NHS.
“In order that this becomes more than a talking shop, all political parties should sign up to this process and be bound by the results…
“My offer to Nicola Sturgeon and the other leaders is a way to fix our NHS by putting party politics aside and working together in the best interests of the people of Scotland. I fear that if we do not take this opportunity, our NHS will continue to decline and patients will pay the price.”