Sturgeon urged to make funding commitment to NHS in north-east
Nicola Sturgeon has been urged to make a firm commitment to the NHS in the north-east following reports of looming cuts, the downgrading of services and a shortage of GPs.
The First Minister was in Aberdeenshire today for the Turriff Show, and the Scottish Conservatives have said the former health secretary should make clear that a £2bn windfall thanks to UK Government spending will be ring-fenced to improve health care north of the border.
A report to NHS Grampian’s board last week showed that £70million worth of savings will have to be made in the next four years.
Campaigners in the Elgin area are battling plans to downgrade maternity services at Dr Gray’s Hospital, the future of Ugie Hospital in Peterhead is in doubt and there is an ongoing GP crisis affecting rural areas.
Prime Minister Theresa May announced that the UK Government would invest an extra £20bn a year in the NHS in England by 2024, meaning £2bn will be made available in additional funding for Scotland under the Barnett formula.
David Duguid, Scottish Conservative MP for Banff and Buchan, said: “While the SNP obsess about the timing of the next referendum on independence, most people in Aberdeenshire are more concerned about our NHS, our schools and the local economy.
“The UK Government has made a welcome announcement of £20bn a year extra for the NHS by 2024, but this commitment must be matched by the SNP north of the border.
“An extra £2bn will be coming to Scotland, and Nicola Sturgeon should make a firm commitment that every penny will be spent on healthcare in areas like Aberdeenshire.
“NHS Grampian will receive the lowest funding per head of population anywhere in Scotland this year, and will still have to make cuts worth £70milllion in the next four years.
“There are major problems in Elgin with the downgrading of maternity services at Dr Gray’s, in Peterhead, we have Ugie Hospital under threat of closure and there is an ongoing shortage of GPs.
“It is time that Nicola Sturgeon focused on the things that matter, and invested properly in the NHS in the north-east of Scotland. This area has been short-changed for far too long.”