Frontline health services will be protected, following confirmation that the SNP Government will plug funding a gap imposed by the Tories on Scotland’s NHS.
UK-wide increases in pension costs for NHS employers, following decisions made by the UK Tory Government, have led to additional costs of £328.4 million for Scotland’s NHS.
Despite promises to fully fund the change to employer pension contributions, the UK Tory Government has only provided £280 million of the necessary funding, leaving a shortfall of £48.4 million this year. This, the SNP Government will pay in order to spare NHS employers, including GP practices and hospices that are members of the NHS pension scheme.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman MSP said:
“This comes on top of the UK Government short-changing our health service by £55 million next year, through reduced Barnett consequentials. That’s a combined shortfall of £103.4 million, inflicted on Scotland’s health service due to UK Government decisions.
“The SNP Government will do everything in its power to prioritise and protect frontline health services from these reductions. We are also calling on the UK Government to reinstate wider health budget reductions and deliver their previous commitments in full.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“Additional funding will be provided for the increase in costs to NHS employers brought about by the UK Government.
“Employers protected from these extra costs include NHS Ayrshire & Arran, GP practices across North Ayrshire and charities with staff who contribute to the NHS pension scheme and provide services to the NHS.
“This is yet another example of the SNP Government having to mitigate the detrimental impact of decisions on reserved matters made by the Tories in Westminster. Meanwhile, Labour in Scotland is happy for the Scottish Parliament to spend ever more of our Scottish budget - which should be used in accordance with our own decisions on devolved matters - on fixing the damaging impact of atrocious Tory policies. They then complain that the SNP doesn’t spend enough in devolved areas.
“In my view, this is not good enough for Scotland, its people or our NHS. The Tories must restore the £103.4 million denied our NHS and stop chipping away at our resources. As for Labour, it’s time they broke the habit of a lifetime and backed Scotland’s interests for once!”
A short-life working group has been established to review NHS Scotland’s costs and agree the most appropriate way of distributing additional SNP Government funding to NHS employers.
The working group is made up of representatives from NHS boards, British Medical Association Scotland and the Scottish Public Pensions Agency.