The Scottish National Party (SNP) has pledged that it will resist English NHS privatisation, in order to protect Scottish interests.
Its election manifesto, published today, says that SNP MPs in Westminster ‘will always vote to protect the health service in all parts of the UK from privatisation – as any moves to privatise the NHS in England could lead to the erosion of the budget that is available to Scotland’.
It adds that the party ‘will work on a cross-party basis to support an NHS Reinstatement Bill that returns the NHS south of the border to its founding principles’.
The manifesto also hints that the party would work to end the cap on pay rises for people who work in the NHS and other public sector roles.
It says that the SNP ‘recognise[s] that at a time of rising inflation, public sector pay caps become unsustainable’, adding: ‘For the NHS, the Scottish Government will work with unions to submit evidence to the independent pay review body on the impact of pay restraint and ask it to make fair recommendations.
‘And we will commit – as we always have done – to implementing the recommendations of the pay review body in full.’
The SNP also says it will lobby for guarantees for EU nationals working in the NHS, while also pushing for Scotland to gain power over its own immigration policy.
The manifesto says: ‘NHS workers from across Europe help to staff our GP surgeries, hospitals and our care homes. SNP MPs will continue to press the UK government to immediately protect their right to live and work in Scotland and the UK.
‘We will also press for immigration powers to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament, so that Scotland can attract EU and EEA nationals to work in Scotland’s NHS and care sector in the years to come.’
It comes as the party’s Westminster health spokespersion, Dr Philippa Whitford, told Pulse that general practice will receive 11% of the overall health funding in Scotland.
She also predicted that general practice in Scotland will continue to take an increasingly divergent approach to that in England following the general election on 8 June.