This item was published during the term of a previous administration that ended in April 2007
Health spending to rise by almost 50 per cent
The Budget means Scotland has a once in a lifetime opportunity to invest in health and health care in Scotland, First Minister Jack McConnell told the Scottish Parliament today.
He was speaking after a special Cabinet meeting decided to commit expenditure increases amounting to £3.2 billion over the next five years to improving the health service.
"We have the freedom to decide how that money should be spent," Mr MConnell said. "This is the key strength of the devolution settlement. We are guaranteed a fair share of additional public spending with the freedom to tailor it to meet Scottish needs.
"Most attention has rightly been focused on the Chancellor's announcement on the future of the NHS. We have made it clear that health is one of our top priorities and I welcome the Chancellor's decision to make health the centrepiece of his Budget.
"The benefits to Scotland will be as follows:
£224 million in 2003-04
£858 million in 2004-05
£1.576 billion in 2005-06
£2.341 billion in 2006-07
£3.201 billion in 2007-08
"When Cabinet met this morning we agreed to allocate these consequentials on health spending to health. We will set ougt the detailed allocations in September. This is a massive step change in investment, an increase of almost 50 per cent over the next five years.
"I make no apology for the additional levels of health spending in Scotland. It reflects the additional health needs of the Scottish population.
"We have been presented with a once in a lifetime opportunity to invest in health and health care in Scotland. We will seize that opportunity. With investment will come reform and results. These resources will deliver the step change in the health of our people that we desperately need. We have been presented with a fantastic opportunity to make a difference."
Full text of First Minister's statement on the Budget
Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm, in his post budget statement, welcomed the the Cabinet's decision to commit the full consequentials on health spending for the 3-year Spending Review period - and the following two years to improving the health of the people of Scotland.
"Work will now begin on how to translate extra resources into real improvements in Scotland's health and health services. Tackling key underlying challenges like the capacity of the NHS in terms of people, the need to embrace new ways of working, and breaking the cycle of ill health that has dogged the Scottish population will all be part of that."
The Minister identified three key issues that will be at the heart of the Executive's programme of modernisation and reform of the NHS:
- Accountability and governance
- Reduction of waiting times
- Greater choice for patients
Mr Chisholm concluded his statement by commenting on speculation in the media on the future of the HCI private hospital in Clydebank.
"Discussions have taken place with HCI and other bodies about how best to take that forward. If and when new developments on raising capacity for the NHS are confirmed, I will have no hesitation in telling both the public and Parliament about them. Rightly, and at this stage, these discussions are bound by commercial confidentiality and we for one will respect that. "
Full text of the Health Minister's statement on the budget.