Nicola Sturgeon slams 'shameful' Tories over calls for Freeman to be axed

Nicola Sturgeon has accused the Tories of “party politics at its worst” over calls for Health Secretary Jeane Freeman to be axed.

The Tories have called for Jeane Freeman to be sacked

The party has set out ten occasions where they claim Ms Freeman's stewardship of the NHS in Scotland has fallen short during the Coronavirus pandemic and before.

But Ms Sturgeon launched a staunch defence of her Health Secretary over the “round the clock” job she has done in recent weeks and slammed the approach of the Tories to the public health crisis.

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“The Scottish Tories statement this morning is absolutely and utterly disgraceful,” Ms Sturgeon told the Daily Coronavirus briefing.

Nicola Sturgeon has slammed the Tories approach during the pandemic

“Unfortunately I don’t find it surprising and I say this more in sorrow than in anger. For the past few week the Scottish Tories have seem to me to be not very interested at all in the real issues we are grappling with and dealing with here.

“They have seemed to me only to be interested in party politics and trying to undermine a Health Secretary who is literally working round the clock to deal with the most difficult issue that any of us have ever dealt with.

“I think that kind of approach says more about the Scottish Tories than it does about the Health Secretary or about the Scottish Government. I would say they should be ashamed of themselves but I’m not entirely sure they have any shame based on the statement this morning.”

It emerged today that NHS staff in Scotland are still not being routinely tested for Coronavirus. Thousands of shielded patients have been wrongly sent a letter telling them it’s safe to leave the house.

The Tories have previously called for Ms Freeman to “resign or be sacked” by the First Minister.

But they have raised fresh concerns over her handling of the situation in care homes and the recent Nike conference, as well as previous issues over the scandal surrounding the delay in opening the Royal Children's hospital in Edinburgh and deaths at the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Glasgow.

“Jeane Freeman was already on borrowed time before coronavirus hit," Tory leader Jackson Carlaw said.

“But as this crisis has unfolded, a number of issues have unfolded on her watch which were completely avoidable, and enough is enough.

“The testing structure under the SNP has been a disaster, to the point where care homes have been left in the lurch, and now she can’t even say when hospital staff will be routinely tested.

“The misplaced loyalty shown by the First Minister to her health secretary is having a negative impact on the NHS.

“A litany of problems had built up before, not least infection deaths of children at the SNP’s flagship hospital in Glasgow, and the continued unacceptable delays of the new Sick Kids in Edinburgh.

“These have been compounded by a dismal performance during the pandemic too."

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