Scotland’s NHS boards spend £130 million on private healthcare

By Bill Heaney

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today urged the SNP/Green government to be honest about the scale of private providers doing work on behalf of the Scottish NHS as he revealed that almost £130 million was spent over the past five years.

Freedom of information requests submitted by Scottish Liberal Democrats reveal that last year almost £32 million was spent with private providers, taking the total since 2018 to £128,035,306.

Key providers such as Ross Hall private hospital, Spire Murrayfield, The Ayr Clinic and The Aberdeen Clinic have made more than £2 million from a single health board and many times that in total.

Commenting on the figures, Mr Cole-Hamilton, pictured right,  said:  “For a government that goes out of its way to proclaim its progressive credentials, I think the public might be surprised by how much NHS work is being contracted out.

“It’s clear that private healthcare providers have a role to play, whether that was offering extra capacity during the pandemic or providing specialist treatment that it is not economical for each health board to provide itself.

“However the public should be kept in the loop about the decisions that the Government and health board bosses are taking.  

“Like the rest of my party, I am very proud of the role that the pioneering liberal William Beveridge played in developing a comprehensive national health service. I would not want to see that service undermined or money funneled to private providers for services that could reasonably be handled within the NHS.

“The SNP’s handling of healthcare has been very poor. 1 in 7 Scots are now on a waiting list and our wards are dependent on expensive locums because of poor workforce planning.

“The SNP and their Green allies must be honest about the challenges facing our NHS and the reliance on private healthcare providers to plug gaps in the service.”

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