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Scottish health secretary Shona Robison resigns ahead of reshuffle

Scottish health secretary Shona Robison has resigned ahead of a cabinet reshuffle.

In her resignation letter, Ms Robison who had been in position for three and a half years pointed to the new GP contract, which came into force in April, as being among her achievements.

She explained the past year had been ‘particularly challenging for me personally, losing both my parents, having a health scare of my own, and some big changes in my personal life’ and the time had come to step down.

Ms Robison had faced some criticism in recent months over NHS finances, cancelled operations and missed targets.

Jeane Freeman will take over as cabinet secretary for health and sport having previously worked as social security minister.

BMA Scotland chair Dr Peter Bennie said: ‘I congratulate Jeane Freeman on being appointed health secretary. 

‘At the BMA, we look forward to working constructively with her, as we did with Shona Robison.’

He added that the efforts Shona Robison made to engage with doctors were appreciated by the profession.

‘This is a challenging time for the NHS in Scotland and we need to see more substantive efforts to tackle the growing gap between resources and demand for services. 

‘We also need to see concerted efforts to tackle recruitment and retention and this must include a significant pay increase to start addressing the unacceptable pay restrictions that doctors have faced in Scotland for several years.’

RCGP Scotland’s deputy chair and policy lead Dr Alasdair Forbes said: ‘We welcome the new cabinet secretary for health and sport, Jeane Freeman MSP, to the role and look forward to working with her to safeguard the future of general practice in Scotland, in the best interests of our patients.

‘I am hopeful she will bring to bear the commitment and energy she has shown in her social security role to safeguard the future of general practice in Scotland.’

He added the college would be looking to develop the commitment made by Ms Robison to provide 800 extra GPs by 2027. 

‘With around £2 billion extra funding coming to Scotland as a consequence of the recently announced investment in NHS England, we hope the opportunity will be taken to ringfence extra spending for health and, within that, general practice,’ he said.