Anas Sarwar vows to save NHS ‘broken by the SNP’

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Mr Sarwar said: “The Labour Party will always defend the NHS. It’s in my DNA, but it’s also in the Labour Party’s DNA.

“We created the NHS, we saved it in 1997, and we will save the NHS again.”

In Scotland the NHS has struggled in recent years, partly due to rising A&E waiting times.

Last year they were 250 times higher than 2019, before the Covid pandemic.

The latest data also shows NHS waiting lists in Scotland reached a record size at the end of March, with 690,000 waits for planned outpatient or inpatient care.

Including those also waiting for tests, the figure is more than 840,000.

Mr Sarwar used his speech in Edinburgh on Wednesday to declare the NHS was “on its knees”.

He said: “The damage inflicted on our NHS by the SNP is an absolute scandal.

“SNP first minister after SNP first minister, SNP health secretary after SNP health secretary should hang their heads in shame for breaking something so precious to us all.”

He said the country now had a “two-tier health service” where some patients are forced to access private healthcare for treatment.

Mr Sarwar added: “Let me make this crystal clear to the SNP: A Labour government in the UK, and in Scotland, will never, ever privatise the NHS. It is our baby.

“Stop the scaremongering and the lies. Stop insulting the intelligence of people across Scotland.”

“We will get out NHS back on its feet.”

He said the “first priority” of a Labour government would be to tackle waiting lists, with plans to deliver millions every year in funding for Scotland.

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