FMQs: Sturgeon accused of ‘celebrating’ English NHS crisis

Nicola Sturgeon said A&E performance is better in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK
Nicola Sturgeon said A&E performance is better in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK
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Nicola Sturgeon today angrily denied "celebrating" claims that the NHS in England is facing a "humanitarian crisis."

The First Minister clashed with opposition leaders over the performance of the health service at Holyrood today after it emerged that the creation of major trauma centres have been delayed in Scotland, along with concerns over care standards at the flagship Queen Elizabeth hospital in Glasgow.

Tory leader Ruth Davidson demanded answers about the extent of help from outside the country which had been sought to deal with problems in Scotland's NHS.

But Ms Sturgeon said: "It's a bit rich for Ruth Davidson to come to this chamber and talk about the health service in the week that the Red Cross has accused her party of presiding over a humanitarian crisis in the health service in England."

The recent claims by the Red Cross caused a major political row over the state of the NHS south of border, but have been condemned by Prime Minister Theresa May.

But Labour leader Kezia Dugdale suggested that the First Minister was gloating over the situation south of the border.

"I think its quite incredible to hear the First Minister say that we should celebrate the fact that the Red Cross has condemned our NHS - what happened to the high ambition that the First Minister had," she said.

Ms Sturgeon insisted that she was only calling on Scots to celebrate statistics showing that A&E performance in Scotland was 10% ahead of England, against national targets. The SNP leader pointed to comments from Professor Derek Bell of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh who today hailed the "consistently better performance" of the NHS in Scotland compared with elsewhere in the UK. The medic even recommended that the NHS in England should adopt a national model for action similar to that in place north of the border.

"We do have best practice in A&E - that best practice is being delivered here in Scotland," MS Sturgeon said.

The four trauma centres earmarked for Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh had been delayed by three years after initial claims they would be up and running by the end of 2016.

But the First Minister said: "We're not talking about creating from scratch four new facilities that currently don't exist.

"These four hospitals in Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh already provide excellent first class trauma care - what we're talking about is continuing to enhance what they do."