Shona Robison slams Labour claims of £1bn NHS budget cut

Scottish health secretary Shona Robison. Picture: ContributedScottish health secretary Shona Robison. Picture: Contributed
Scottish health secretary Shona Robison. Picture: Contributed

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HEALTH Secretary Shona Robison has hit back at Labour claims the NHS could see £1 billion sliced from its budget over the next four years.

Ms Robison insisted there are “no cuts planned” for health spending and “to suggest otherwise is simply false”.

The Scottish Government spends more than £12 billion a year funding the health service.

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Labour claimed health boards could be forced to make £1 billion worth of efficiency savings in the period up to 2021 - saying savings of £258 million are being planned by Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS and NHS Lothian is planning to save £382 million.

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With some health boards, including those in Fife, Grampian and Tayside, still to reveal their figures, the party fears the total could rise even higher.

Labour health spokesman Anas Sarwar said: “After nearly 10 years in charge of Scotland’s NHS, the SNP cannot escape from responsibility for the performance of Scotland’s NHS.

“The budget cuts they are forcing on Scotland’s health boards are having a direct effect on patient care and a direct effect on the amount of pressure hard-working and dedicated NHS staff are under.

“This year Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board are being forced to cut £69 million from their budget, with the result that valued local services at Lightburn Hospital, the Vale of Leven and the Royal Alexandra Hospital are being lost.

“In Lothian, the SNP have already forced the health board to cut £192 million from their budget. But over the next four years the SNP are proposing an eye-watering £400 million in additional cuts in Lothian alone.

“This is not sustainable. Staff are already under pressure and valued local services are being closed or downgraded.”

Ms Robison denied reductions are being made to the health budget and said: “There are no cuts planned to NHS funding from the Scottish Government and to suggest otherwise is simply false.

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“We will actually be increasing the NHS budget above inflation in each and every year. In these five years we will be delivering in excess of £60 billion in health funding.

“We are committed to working in partnership with NHS boards to deliver the best possible care for the people of Scotland.

“All NHS boards work to deliver efficiency savings to ensure public money is being used effectively and for the best benefit for patients, and every penny of these savings are directly reinvested in the NHS.”