Linda Fabiani MSP for East Kilbride has responded to Labour’s claims of “runaway salaries” of NHS Lanarkshire’s top officials.

“Yet again we see Labour’s negativity to the fore – they have already raised this in Parliament and seen their figures ridiculed by the Scottish Government. The party that gave us disastrous PFI contracts, such as at Hairmyres Hospital, have nothing new to say on the NHS. The facts are:

“Most people on these salaries in the NHS are medical staff providing frontline care. High salaries for Senior Managers were a part of the NHS through Labour’s long years in power. Under the SNP we already have 100 fewer Senior Manager posts as we aim for a 25 per cent reduction. This will direct more than £100m a year extra towards frontline services.

“NHS area health boards will receive a real terms increase, £720 million more in 2014/15 than at present. When resources are tight it is vital that changes are made to focus on services for patients. That’s why spending on management and administration is being cut, ensuring that an increasing proportion of the NHS budget is spent on point of care services.”

“Labour’s NHS legacy has left the public having to pay over £1 billion in the next five years through their PFI programme.  Over the next five years more money will leave the NHS in repayments for the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Wishaw General and Hairmyres Hospital than the capital cost of the projects themselves – with more payments in years after that as a result of Labour’s PFI and PPP deals.

“Between 2010-11 and 2014-15 NHS Lanarkshire will have to pay £106 million for Hairmyres Hospital despite it only being worth only £68 million.  I am sure the residents of East Kilbride would much rather £38m was spent improving hospital food and other services rather than paid back to a PFI scheme brought in by the Labour Government.

“The SNP Government has protected spending in the NHS with an extra £1.2 billion over the last four years to safeguard frontline services – that’s  over £2,800 for every man, woman and child in Scotland.

“They have reduced hospital waiting times to a record low for outpatients, they are now 13 days shorter than they were under Labour.  Hospital inpatient waiting times have also been cut dramatically – by 19 days compared to Labour.  They delivered on our ambitious cancer target which means treatment begins within one month of a decision to treat.

“The SNP record on the NHS includes the abolition of prescription charges, saving people with long-term illnesses an average of more than £180 and scrapped charges at all NHS-run hospital car parks.

“The funding of 1,000 more cleaners in the NHS, has helped to ensure infection in Scottish hospitals is now at an all-time low.  Our older generation is properly cared for by increasing payments for free personal and nursing care for the first time since it was introduced.

“We have a record to be proud of and we can be assured Scotland’s National Health Service is safe from this disastrous plan for Tory and Lib Dem privatisation of the NHS in England.

“Under devolution we are able to protect our independent NHS from attack by a Tory government.  With greater powers for a Scottish Parliament we could extend that protection to welfare, pensions and our economy so we can ensure the values of the people of Scotland are reflected by the government of Scotland.”

At her speech to the SNP Conference Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, Nicola Sturgeon said “Over the next four years, an extra £1 billion will be invested in our health service.  And I guarantee this: that money won’t be wasted on senseless reorganisations. Every single penny will support frontline patient care. 

“The economic climate – and our commitment to no compulsory redundancies – means that a pay freeze for all but the lowest paid has been unavoidable. But what is avoidable is the increase in pension contributions planned by the UK government. Make no mistake, these increases are not about making pensions sustainable.  They are a Westminster cash grab for the purposes of deficit reduction. So, let me say this very directly to the UK government. As Scottish Health Secretary, I object – at a time when wages are frozen – to you reducing the deficit at the expense of Scotland’s NHS workers.  They should not be paying for the mistakes of the bankers and Westminster politicians who wrecked our economy.”

Fact 1: Cutting senior managers.  The target to reduce NHS senior managers by 25 per cent 2015 will contribute to more than £100m a year in non-clinical efficiency savings which will be spent on frontline services. In the year to March 2011 the number of senior mangers reduced by 8.1 per cent.

Fact 2: NHS budget is protected. Resource funding for health in Scotland is set to increase by £826 million over the next three years. NHS territorial health boards will receive a real terms increase, £720 million more in 2014/15 than at present. The core budgets of all territorial health boards is increasing by 9.5 per cent by 2014/15.

Fact 3: Frontline services are the top priority. The largest percentage reduction in staff has been in administrative posts. The NHS workforce changes to match clinical need. Over three quarters of all surgery is now done on a day case rather than an inpatient basis, and hospital stays are shorter than ever before.  Cases of MRSA and MSSA are at their lowest level since records began. There are no compulsory redundancies in the NHS.


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