The Scottish Government has put the NHS and spending on it at the heart of the Programme for Government which will be announced at Holyrood on Tuesday.

The proposals will include increased spending of £2.5 billion in the NHS. The government says that this will ensure that Scotland’s NHS is ready to meet changing patient demands and the impact of the pandemic.

The first increase in spending will be confirmed in the 2022/23 budget to be announced later this year and will mean additional spending of at least £2.5 billion by 2026/27.

The Programme for Government will also contain measures to assist a green, fair economic recovery with a just transition to net zero.

Legislation is proposed for this parliamentary year to establish a new National Care Service.

The First Minister said: “We owe our health and social care services, and the extraordinary staff who kept them running in the toughest of years, our immense gratitude.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, we will strengthen and improve our health and social care system so that everyone gets the care they need, while recognising and repaying the efforts of staff given the toll the pandemic has had on them.

“We are already investing record amounts in out NHS, but this 20% increase will help transform the way we deliver services and ensure the system is ready to meet the challenges which still lie ahead.

“Our recent NHS recovery plan set out measures to establish a network of cancer diagnostic centres, refurbish NHS facilities across Scotland and make unprecedented investment in mental health services.

“The creation of a National Care Service will also mark the biggest reform of health and social care since the creation of the NHS and will help ensure every patient’s care journey is focused on the individual.

“Recovery from COVID-19 across all of society is the Scottish Government’s first and most pressing priority and I am determined that this Programme for Government will allow our health service to continue managing COVID-19 and our longer term population health challenges.”