Sturgeon outlines £1bn NHS Recovery Plan

Nicola Sturgeon

The Scottish 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.

The plan aims to address backlogs in healthcare and increase capacity by at least 10%.

It 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.

“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,” said the Scottish Government.

“We are also bolstering the NHS Pharmacy First scheme to enhance the range of services patients can access from community pharmacists without having to go to their GP.

“In acute care we are increasing capacity for inpatients, day cases, outpatients and diagnostics.

“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 we will work to increase NHS capacity substantially beyond these levels.”

Actions include:

  • increasing investment in National Treatment Centres (NTCs) 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
  • investing £29 million to target diagnostic backlogs, providing 78,000 additional procedures in 2021/22 rising to 90,000 per year from 2025/26
  • providing £8 million to support the mental health and wellbeing of the health and care workforce
  • 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.
  • 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 the National Cancer Plan and Detect Cancer Early Programme
  • 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

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon 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.”

About the Author

Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.