3 January 2019

Scotland’s health boards have racked up at least £130million in private spending since 2015, Freedom of Information figures reveal.

Information released to Scottish Labour reveals that, between 2015/16 and 2017/18, health boards across Scotland have spent £130,866,841 on private hospitals and health services across Scotland.

The figure is likely to be larger as it does not include NHS Lothian and NHS Highland.

Scottish Labour said the figures underlined the pressure on health boards to meet demand and waiting times and instead of being adequately staffed, they are turning to expensive private providers.

In NHS Lanarkshire, which has seen increases in private spending each year, much of the money has gone towards mental health services and eating disorder clinics.

Scottish Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Monica Lennon, said:

“Health boards are already feeling the pressure because SNP ministers have failed to provide our hospitals with the right number of doctors and nurses - so they have to turn to expensive private providers to hit targets the government set them.

“The NHS is our most valued public service – taxpayers don’t want the health service used as a cash cow for private companies, but the only way to cut this private spending is to ensure our health service has the staff it needs, with the time to deliver the care patients deserve.

“Scottish Labour is working with trade unions and health and social care partners on the action needed to end the staffing problems in our NHS for good. We need real change in health and social care and an NHS that is fit for the future.”

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