Scotland’s travel quarantine rules labelled ‘weird’ by Calder
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Ms Sturgeon said she wants the health service in Scotland to be “stronger than ever before” as she launched a £1 billion-plus recovery plan for the NHS. The Scottish First Minister joined Health Secretary Humza Yousaf to unveil the proposals, which aim to tackle the backlogs that have built up during the Covid-19 pandemic and increase NHS capacity by 10 percent.
Reforms are promised to both primary care – which includes doctors and dentists – and across Scotland’s hospitals.
A priority in the plan is for the return of face-to-face appointments with GPs “as quickly and as safely as possible” – with family doctors having switched to virtual and telephone consultations as a result of coronavirus.
Prior to Covid, Scotland’s hospitals had cared for approximately 270,000 inpatients and people needing day case procedures each year, as well as some 1.4 million outpatient appointments.
The recovery plan aims to increase NHS capacity “substantially” beyond these levels.
But Annie Wells MSP, Scottish Tory health spokesperson said: “If this flimsy pamphlet is the best that Humza Yousaf can come up with, Scotland’s NHS is in real trouble.
“This delayed plan is mostly a lift from their manifesto and a regurgitation of undelivered promises from failed SNP health ministers of old.
“It’s embarrassingly thin – made for PR purposes, not for our NHS.
“The SNP have shamefully walked back a key election pledge. They’ve tried to quietly abandon a commitment to remobilise the NHS.”
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Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton dismissed the SNP led Scottish Government’s package as a “wafer-thin commitments and re-packaged promises”.
Dr Lewis Morrison, chair of doctors’ body BMA Scotland cautioned against “unrealistic” expectations.
He said: “The lack of explicit acknowledgement of the staff shortages is disappointing.
“We cannot hope to deliver what is currently demanded of our NHS – let alone an extra 10 percent.
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“Striving to meet this commitment is unrealistic without the staff to do it, and risks simply driving existing staff harder.
“That won’t work, and it risks damaging those staff and making retention issues much worse.”
Elsewhere in the plan, the SNP-led Scottish Government is pledging to invest more than £400 million in national treatment centres, which it says could mean an additional 40,000 more planned operations and procedures to take place each year.
Spending in primary care is to be increased by 25 percent, with support for GPs, community pharmacists, dentists and optometrists.
To reduce waiting for diagnostic tests, £29 million will be invested, with ministers saying this should allow 78,000 more procedures to be carried out this year alone, with this rising to 90,000 more tests each year from 2025-26.
The Scottish First Minister concluded: “Tackling the backlog of care is essential and will be a priority.
“But we want to go further than that and deliver an NHS that is innovative.”
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