Labour’s Jenny Marra calls for NHS national debate

PATIENT groups, health unions and professional medical bodies should be invited to a summit to look at how to transform Scotland’s NHS which is facing a “serious problem” with treatment waiting times, Labour’s Jenny Marra told MSPs.
Jenny Marra MSP. Picture: Andrew Cowan/Scottish ParliamentJenny Marra MSP. Picture: Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament
Jenny Marra MSP. Picture: Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament

Ms Marra said the Scottish Government has missed its accident and emergency targets for the 295th week in a row as she called for a debate on the health service to be held alone similar lines to the 2014 independence referendum.

Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman Ms Marra said Scotland’s NHS was facing a deep-rooted problem with patient waiting times, but suggested that a national debate on protecting a free service could lead to improvements.

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She said: “On Tuesday, the government missed its own target for accident and emergency waiting times of 98 per cent of all A&E patients within four hours. This is the 295th week in a row that this target has been missed.

“I believe a summit of all stakeholders, including the professional bodies and trade unions who spoke out last week, certainly the patients groups whose experiences are central to this, and of course the political leaders from across this parliament.”

The Labour MSP went onto call for a national conversation on the NHS which she said would provoke similar passion to that of last year’s independence referendum.

Ms Marra added: “Politics in some ways has undergone something of a resurgence in this country, with the referendum reviving the tradition of the town hall meeting, bringing to life street politics and unprecedented levels of discussion on social media.

“Well, what other issue could provoke such universal feeling than the future of our NHS and I believe we can take this debate to every town in Scotland as we set out the choices that need to be taken.”