War of words over NHS changes

POLITicians have clashed on proposals to privatise NHS services

Milngavie MSP Gil Paterson has hit out at East Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson and the coalition Condem Government in Westminster for bringing in plans to open more of the health service to the private sector.

The SNP MSP said: “I was appalled to learn that Jo Swinson and the Coalition Government, including 32 Scottish Labour MPs, had voted for privatisation of the NHS in England.

“Fortunately, the NHS in Scotland is devolved to the Scottish Government who have no intention of privatising the service in any way, shape or form.

“We have been able to protect the NHS in Scotland from the worst of the Tory/LibDem cuts, and have met ambitious targets for treatment, waiting times and hospital cleanliness, but we should know exactly where the Unionists stand on their commitment to the NHS in Scotland.

“However, in some ways it is no surprise for the LibDems to vote in this way, despite their pre-election assurances that the NHS would be safe in their hands, as their previous record on doing an about turn on tuition fees shows that they simply cannot be trusted.”

Ms Swinson responded: “This is a bit rich coming from the SNP who have chosen to cut more than 4000 staff from the NHS in Scotland, despite promising not to do so. In contrast, the Coalition Government has protected NHS spending in England. The Liberal Democrats have secured major changes to the Health and Social Care Bill.

“We’re fighting to reverse some of the privatisation that happened under the last Labour Government who paid private providers 11 per cent more than the NHS for the same service.

“We’re not privatising, but instead are carefully and systematically improving this Bill for the benefit of NHS patients across the country so that it continues to develop cutting-edge research and that any income from private patients is used solely for the benefit of NHS patients.

“It’s a shame the SNP aren’t protecting Scotland’s NHS funding.”