The SNP Government has published its NHS Recovery Plan, committing more than £1 billion of targeted investment for the recovery and renewal of Scotland’s health service.
It sets out key actions for the next five years to help address backlogs in healthcare and increase capacity by at least 10%.
The plan outlines a range of reforms across primary and acute NHS services to help recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and get everyone the treatment they need as quickly as possible.
Prior to the pandemic, Scotland’s NHS carried out approximately 270,000 inpatient/day cases per year, and approximately 1.4 million outpatient appointments. Through this Plan, NHS capacity for inpatients, outpatients, day cases and diagnostics will increase substantially.
A key aim in primary care is to restore face-to-face GP consultations as quickly and safely as possible, while ensuring everyone can continue to make use of eHealth services like NHS Near Me, if that is their preference. It also contains measures to enhance the range of services patients can receive from community pharmacists, relieving pressures on GPs.
Investing £29 million to target diagnostic backlogs, providing 78,000 additional procedures in 2021/22 rising to 90,000 per year from 2025/26
Increasing investment in National Treatment Centres (NTCs) - including one to be set up in Ayrshire - to more than £400 million, contributing to delivery of over 40,000 additional elective surgeries and procedures per year
Raising primary care investment by 25%, supporting GPs, community pharmacists, dentists and optometrists
Delivering £23 million to redesign urgent care – with rapid access to a senior clinician via a telephone or video consultation where possible, reducing the pressure on A&E
Devoting £130 million to deliver our National Cancer Plan and Detect Cancer Early Programme
Investing £11 million in new national and international recruitment campaigns to produce an additional 1,500 staff over the next five years for our NTCs, 1,000 mental health link workers in communities, 800 more GPs, and boosting paramedic numbers through the £10,000 Paramedic Bursary.
Providing £8 million to support the mental health and wellbeing of the health and care workforce
Ensuring at least 10% of frontline health spending will be dedicated to mental health, and recruiting 320 additional Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) workers
The First Minister said:
“This Plan will drive the recovery of our NHS, not just to its pre-pandemic level but beyond.
“As we maintain our resilience against COVID-19 and other pressures, the Scottish Government is providing targeted investment to increase capacity, reform the system and ultimately get everyone the treatment they need as quickly as possible.
“Tackling the backlog of care is essential and will be a priority. But we want to go further than that and deliver an NHS that is innovative, sustainable and stronger than ever before.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“This carefully constructed plan provides the opportunity to improve the way our NHS functions.
“The NHS Ayrshire & Arran National Treatment Centre will help massively increase both elective and short-term hospital capacity and as such, be very beneficial for those who live here.
“Our NHS and its staff have been under enormous pressure, and I believe this recovery plan is ambitious enough to relieve this whilst helping to deliver an even better service.”