Leader of the Scottish Labour Party, Anas Sarwar, has today unveiled a recovery plan for the NHS in Scotland’s after the pandemic.
Speaking at the launch of his party’s election campaign, Mr Sarwar published proposals to get cancer treatment back on track, improve mental health care, and give carers the pay they deserve.
He said restoring the NHS must be the priority for the next parliament, not ‘settling old scores’.
The blueprint includes a catch-up plan for cancer screenings by increasing staff and processing capacity to clear the backlog of appointments within a year, highlighting there are 7,000 missing cancer diagnoses as a result of Covid.
Scottish Labour’s election campaign will focus on a ‘National Recovery Plan’ with five themes: a jobs recovery; an NHS recovery; an education recovery; a climate recovery; and a communities recovery.
An education comeback plan has already been published, and this is the second element of the national recovery plan.
The National Recovery Plan for the NHS includes measures to:
* Get services back on track and prioritise cancer treatment and care.
* Invest in mental health services to improve support, end rejected referrals, and support good mental health in the workplace.
* Create a national care service to transform social care.
* Provide a real pay rise for NHS staff and raise social carers’ pay to £15 an hour, with an immediate rise to £12.
Mr Sarwar said: “Covid has reminded us of the value of our NHS, but the past year has not come without a cost.
“Waiting times have soared, there are missing cancer patients, a growing mental health crisis, and an exhausted workforce.
“Restoring the NHS and Scotland’s health will be key to Scotland’s recovery, and we can’t go back to the old way of doing things.
“This plan offers solutions to ensure we can restore our NHS and that is what this election is about – solutions for the future; not the arguments of the past.
“Better public services; not settling old scores.
“A national recovery plan to unite our country; not an obsession with what divides us.
“After the last few days, it’s clear that only Scottish Labour is focused on what unites us so that together we can build a stronger recovery for a fairer Scotland.”