Scottish election 2021: Tories unveil plan to deliver ‘record NHS funding’

The Scottish Conservatives have pledged to enshrine in law a “double lock” to increase health budget by £2 billion.

Leader Douglas Ross said the party’s manifesto will commit to an ‘NHS escalator’ which would deliver the record NHS funding by the end of the next Scottish Parliament term.

The pledge would mean health funding rising every year by either 2 per cent above inflation or the UK Government Barnett consequential figure, whichever is higher.

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Douglas Ross will set out the plans at an event today with GP and Glasgow candidate Sandesh Gulhane, where they will also unveil a banner hailing the Covid vaccine rollout as a success story.

Scottish Conservative Leader Douglas Ross outside New Stobhill Hospital in Springburn, north Glasgow, for the announcement of the party's NHS spending pledge and the unveiling of a banner on the vaccine rollout programme, during campaigning for the Scottish Parliamentary election. Picture date: Thursday April 1, 2021.

Today’s figures will show around 2.5 million people in Scotland have already received the vaccine.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “In the face of enormous risks and challenges, Scotland’s NHS has performed incredible feats throughout this pandemic and every single frontline worker deserves our utmost thanks. Today we are pledging to enshrine in law that our NHS gets the funding it needs to tackle the treatment backlogs that were already causing serious problems before the pandemic struck.

“After 14 years in charge of Scotland’s NHS, the SNP can’t hide from their record, however much they try. As First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon has never once met her promise on treatment times.”

He added: “The Scottish Conservatives would guarantee fair funding for our NHS with a double lock that would increase the health budget every single year. Our plans would see the annual health budget rise by approximately £2 billion and give NHS boards the long-term security to protect local services in the future.

“The biggest threat to Scotland’s NHS is the SNP’s plan to break up the country, which would put funding for all our essential public services at risk. We can only rebuild Scotland, fully support our NHS and protect public services by focusing 100 per cent on recovery, not another referendum.”

In their most recent report on NHS Scotland, Audit Scotland noted that the usual financial planning arrangements were paused for 2020-21.

It said: “This means that, for 2020-21, NHS boards do not have three-year plans approved by the Scottish Government in place.”

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