FMQs: Nicola Sturgeon under fire over NHS and schools record

Nicola Sturgeon faced a grilling from opponents over her record in running Scotland's schools and NHS at Holyrood today.

Nicola Sturgeon said trainee teacher numbers are now rising

Teaching shortages across the country were raised by Tory leader Ruth Davidson who accused the SNP Government of ten years of failure at First Ministers Questions.


The SNP leader also came under fire over the rising number of Scots patients who are waiting more than the legally binding target of 12 weeks for treatment on the NHS from referral, as well as cuts to maternity services.

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Education Secretary John Swinney admitted this week that cuts to teacher training in 2011 contributed to the current shortage of teachers which means there are 700 vacancies in Scotland, according to recent figures.

Nicola Sturgeon said trainee teacher numbers are now rising

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Ms Davidson said: "The line on education from the First Minister seems to be forget about 10 years of failure, forget about the mess we've made, forget about the children who've been failed by her Government, - she's the person to sort this out.


"If she's going to do that, she first has to admit the consequences of getting it wrong."


But Ms Sturgeon insisted the cuts to teacher training came after "unanimous advice" from the Teacher Workforce Planning Group, which includes councils, unions and universities.

Nicola Sturgeon said trainee teacher numbers are now rising


Ms Sturgeon added that numbers have increased "in every single year" since then.


Labour said more than 38,000 patients waited longer than the SNP's 12 week legal treatment time guarantee in the last year.


Ms Dugdale said: “The SNP government introduced the 12 week legal right to treatment in 2012. But in the last year alone more than 38,000 patients waited longer than 12 weeks.


“Patients had a better chance of being treated within 12 weeks before the SNP introduced the legal guarantee.


"That should shame Nicola Sturgeon. Because behind these numbers are people and real lives. It’s pensioners, children and parents waiting months for operations."


Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said the closure of Caithness maternity hospital had provoked widespread local anger and left expectant mothers with journeys of more than 100 miles to Inverness.


But the First Minister insisted that waiting times in Scotland were better than elsewhere in the UK. She added that the closure of the maternity unit in Wick was taken by the health board on the basis of patient safety, following the death of an infant, and was not taken by the Scottish Government.