Shetland MSP, Tavish Scott, says that the SNP’s Holyrood administration must use the extra funding they could get, as a result of any UK budget increase in health spending, to improve the NHS in Scotland, with NHS Shetland’s past underfunding being addressed.
Tavish Scott said, “Under the Barnett formula, Scotland will get an increase in funding as a result of any decision the Chancellor makes to increase funding for the NHS south of the border. Between 2010 and 2015, the coalition government in London protected NHS funding, with real term increases of some 4%. But the SNP ministers in Edinburgh did not use the extra funding this gave them to increase the funding of the NHS in Scotland. NHS Scotland instead suffered a real term funding cut.
“Shetland was one of the areas hit hard by this, with NHS Shetland being underfunded by £900 000 per annum, as calculated using the Scottish Government’s own formula. Other areas hit include the Scottish Ambulance Service which needs extra funding to tackle the challenges its Shetland staff face.
“The SNP cannot be allowed to siphon off to its pet projects increases in funding it gets as a result of funding increases for the NHS in England. This time, if the Chancellor increases NHS funding in England, the SNP must give an undertaking to use all the NHS Barnett consequentials on the NHS in Scotland. Shetland’s needs should be at the front of the queue for funds. Our vital primary care service is under immense pressure and needs a funding boost, with a particular need for funds to help to tackle the GP shortages and the need for more community nurses. And the SNP must end their top down, one size fits all model which the SNP in Edinburgh impose on Shetland.
“The SNP tries to blame all of Scotland’s ills on Westminster underfunding. But in the case of the NHS, it is the SNP’s own failure to use properly the Barnett health consequentials it has received which is the real cause of NHS Scotland’s problems. This must change and change now.”