A Tory MSP has said she would be "quite happy" if the Government had no role in the running the NHS in Scotland.
Michelle Ballantyne, a former nurse, said the SNP has presided over a "crisis" in the health service during a Holyrood debate today and suggested it should be left to medical bosses to run it.
But the comments came under fire from opposition parties who called on the South of Scotland MSP to withdraw the remarks.
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Ms Ballantyne pointed to the quarter of GP practices which vacancies, along with the 400 vacant consultant posts and claims hospitals are short of 2400 nurses.
"I don't think we should use it as a political football," Ms Ballantyne said.
As someone who spent a lot of time in the NHS, I would be quite happy if Government had nothing to do with the running of the NHS quite frankly.
"That will never, ever happen because of the money around it shoulod be run by the people who know best.
"There's a crisis. denying it doesn't solve the problem. We have to work together to solve it."
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The Scottish Government devotes £14 billion a year - almost half of its budget - to health spending.
SNP MSP Emma Harper branded the comments "stunning."
She added: "I hope Michelle Ballantyne has the good sense to withdraw her remarks.
“The NHS is a treasured, publicly-owned institution and it is right that Scottish ministers are ultimately accountable for it.
“Indeed, Tory MSPs come each and every week to demand the Scottish Government make changes in the NHS.
“It is entirely unacceptable for a Tory frontbencher to say that the government should have ‘nothing to do’ with our health service – and you do wonder what the Tories would prefer to have in its place.”