Well being chiefs have held secret talks to drive Scotland’s wealthiest sufferers to pay for therapy on the NHS.
Explosive minutes of a gathering revealed that senior administration mentioned the introduction of a ‘two-tier’ well being service.
The revelations have been known as “deeply alarming” and a “damning” indictment of the SNP’s working of the NHS.
The suggestion of a system the place “individuals who can afford it go non-public” was made throughout discussions of attainable NHS reforms amongst senior well being officers.
Different controversial measures have been additionally mentioned, together with a assessment of free prescriptions, sending sufferers house sooner, halting funding for brand new medication and a wave of effectivity financial savings.
SNP ministers didn’t deny that points have been raised, however Nicola Sturgeon insisted that the precept that the NHS is free for all is “not up for dialogue”.
In line with draft minutes of a 45-minute assembly of NHS administrators, seen by the BBC, quite a few “points, points and concepts” have been raised about “what a reworked NHS might appear to be”.
Draft minutes of a 45-minute assembly of NHS administrators revealed latest discussions with NHS Scotland Chief Government Caroline Lamb, pictured, about designing a two-tier system the place individuals who can afford it they go non-public.
The minutes, marked “confidential, not for sharing,” present the assembly started with an replace on “latest discussions” with NHS Scotland chief government Caroline Lamb, who can be the Scottish authorities’s director basic for well being and social care. : the division supervised by the Secretary of Well being Humza Yousaf.
The minutes cowl the query ‘what may be accomplished with the monetary constraints now we have?’
They are saying some members of the general public are “already selecting to pay privately” and that the NHS is “bearing the price of life-enhancing, not life-saving, therapies.”
One attainable prompt reform of the service is to ‘design a two-tier system the place individuals who can afford it transfer into the non-public sector’.
It has raised questions on why senior officers felt they may talk about potential reforms by the chief government of NHS Scotland.
Scottish Conservative well being spokesman Dr Sandesh Gulhane mentioned: “These revelations are deeply alarming.”
“It’s clear that NHS leaders are speaking about abandoning the basic rules of our well being service and introducing costs for sufferers, and so they really feel they’ve the political cowl to take action.
‘Regardless of Humza Yousaf’s protests, the SNP seems to be actively contemplating the privatization of Scotland’s NHS. That is outrageous. Well being care should stay free on the level of use for all.
The SNP can’t be trusted with the NHS Scotland. Humza Yousaf has misplaced the boldness of the workforce and the truth that such radical proposals have been carried out reveals the desperation felt all through the well being service as a winter disaster approaches.’
Dr Gulhane added: ‘Humza Yousaf should take duty for this lack of management and resign, or be fired.
The Scottish authorities’s director basic of well being and social care is supervised by the well being secretary, Humza Yousaf, pictured. A conservative well being spokesman mentioned the SNP authorities should “make clear its plans for our well being service”.
‘The SNP authorities should additionally make clear its plans for our well being service.’
The minutes present that officers acknowledged that it’s “virtually simpler to determine what can’t be accomplished than what’s/will likely be.”
Different attainable prompt reforms embrace a proposal for sufferers to be discharged inside a most interval of 23 hours; a assessment of the ‘long-term price of prescription when different choices exist’; an choice to ‘pause funding for brand new developments/medication’ until they are often proven to save lots of the NHS cash; greater effectivity financial savings; payment for freedom of data requests; cease care companies completely and as an alternative ship sufferers house for care.
Personal hospitals reported an increase in affected person numbers as ready lists for routine operations on the NHS in Scotland soared to virtually 750,000 individuals.
The most recent knowledge reveals that personal therapy at impartial hospitals in Scotland elevated by 56%, from 26,435 in July 2019 to June 2020, to 39,650 between April 2021 and March 2022.
The variety of sufferers paying for operations, assessments and different procedures at non-public hospitals elevated to 4,700 between July and September 2021, up from 2,800 in the identical interval in 2019.
The minutes, from the September 21 assembly, additionally solid doubt on ministers’ plans for a Scottish nationwide care service, acknowledging that there’s a group inside authorities that “acknowledges that it will not be attainable to supply what’s initially proposed.”
Scottish Conservative well being spokesman Dr Sandesh Gulhane known as the revelations “deeply alarming”. He added: “It’s clear that NHS leaders are speaking about abandoning the basic rules of our well being service and introducing costs for sufferers, and so they really feel they’ve the political cowl to take action.”
In addition they counsel spending £800m on the scheme “would not make sense” given the monetary challenges going through the NHS.
The Authorities mentioned final night time that the minutes check with an “casual” assembly of a “small quantity” of NHS administrators.
In a press release, Yousaf mentioned: “The Scottish Authorities’s coverage couldn’t be clearer.
Our NHS should be maintained in line with Bevan’s basic rules: publicly owned, publicly operated and free on the level of want.
‘The availability of well being companies ought to all the time be based mostly on the person wants of a affected person, and any suggestion that this needs to be based mostly in any manner on capacity to pay is abominable.’