Monday, 1 September 2014

Daily Express attack NHS privitisation in Scotland!

Bear in Mind this comes from the Daily Express 

EXCLUSIVE: The secret sell-out of Scotland’s NHS

SHAMELESS Alex Neil and Nicola Sturgeon were urged to explain themselves or resign last night over a secretive attempt to privatise the Scottish NHS by the back door.

So what are thet accused of?

According to the Express

Ministers boast that only £80million of hospital funding is privatised but in fact almost £500million went to “sub-contractors” last year – almost five per cent of Holyrood’s annual NHS budget.
These third parties include commercial firms, voluntary organisations and councils, in order to fund care for the elderly, people with mental health issues and learning disabilities, and community care.
Councils are increasingly bringing in the private sector to help meet needs in each of these areas – a fact that is acknowledged and even encouraged by the Scottish Government.
The effect is that millions of pounds of Scottish health funding ends up in the hands of independent firms each year, but does not appear in the NHS books.
In a further hugely damaging revelation, the annual sum given to sub-contractors – including these massive hidden payments to the private sector – has more than doubled since the SNP came to power. The official NHS figures are buried at the end of the annual Scottish Health Service Costs publication, contained within the 89th of 90 spending reports.
 Last night, 
Scottish Conservative health spokesman Jackson Carlaw said

: “Both Alex Neil and Nicola Sturgeon have manipulated and concealed the spend on private health care in Scotland while lambasting Westminster for roughly the same spend in England and then shamelessly using their manipulated figures in the referendum campaign.“Their personal integrity has been compromised. Had parliament not been in recess they would both now have to explain themselves and explain why they should not resign for wilfully misleading MSPs and the wider public.”
He added: “This is a massively embarrassing revelation for the SNP, and undermines even further its cowardly scaremongering on the NHS we’ve seen in recent weeks.
“The hypocrisy of Alex Salmond pointing the finger south when his own Scottish Government has been relying so heavily on private care is astonishing. “This discovery should put the nonsensical Yes campaign argument to bed once and for all.
“We believe the independent sector plays a vital role in supporting the NHS, and it seems from these figures the SNP is in agreement.” 
Scottish Labour’s health spokesman Neil Findlay said:
 “The increased role of the private sector in social care provision in Scotland is a direct result of the cuts to council budgets by this SNP government.

Pots calling the kettle Black?

On paper this looks like an embarrassment  for the SNP Government but it also seems  same problem Labour in Wales have.

Scotland although it does have Tax raising powers it is under lockstep which means the  Scottish Government Government would only be able to move all three income tax bands together, rather than vary individual bands. and has never been used since the creation of the Scottish Parliament undef  Labour, Labour/Kib Dem or SNP government

So they are dependent on the Block Grant from Westminster which means they have to adjust this to make their need s ans pass this down the line 

But it would be hypocritical of me ignore this . Whilst criticising .the Welsh Assembly Government for doing th same.

But it seems odd that this story has appeared  in a Newspaper that it is a  cheerleader of the right.and its timing is clearly ment to derail the YES campaign particularly the SNP claim that Independence will protect the NHS.

It will be interesting to see the above Ministers defending themselves they don't seem to have been given the opportunity by the Express.

Mind you I would turn it on its head if I was them and claim that a NO vote will force any Scottish Government to explore these options as Westminster makes deeper cuts in their Scottish Grant.

In some ways it reinforces the argument that although the NHS in Scotland as a separate Identity its fiances  are dependent on Westminster not making any cuts in the Scottish Government grant and a NO vote would see this happen whether the Tories or Blue Labour 2015.


  1. I don't see it as an embarrassment at all, Glyn. The supposedly "damning" sentence in the Express article is this:

    Ministers boast that only £80million of hospital funding is privatised but in fact almost £500million went to “sub-contractors” last year – almost five per cent of Holyrood’s annual NHS budget.

    We have to read on to get the breakdown of the £490.6m total:

    £63.8m to the third sector (voluntary organizations)
    £343.8m to councils

    Doing a simple bit of maths, this means that £83.0m is spent on the private sector. Therefore the "boast" is in fact perfectly correct.

    In the same article Labour then complain about councils being put under pressure because of the council tax freeze, but as the total has more than doubled (£225m to £490m) since 2007 I guess this would predominantly reflect the extra money the Scottish Government is giving to councils in order to compensate them for the council tax freeze. That's hardly something to complain about.

    It is up to the councils to decide how best to provide care services, and I'm sure some of them will opt to close in-house care provision and out-source it to the private sector. But the Scottish Government can't be blamed for local government decisions. Labour still hold or largely control half of the councils (16 out of 32) so it might be interesting to find out which councils are out-sourcing their care duties to the private sector.

  2. Thanks Mike for clearing things up.But it only shows the depth the media will stoop t. Expect more.