MURDO FRASER DISAPPOINTED WITH RESPONSE FROM FIRST MINISTER ON NHS TAYSIDE’S WINTER BUDGET BEING HALVED

Murdo Fraser MSP has expressed his disappointment with the response from the First Minister of Scotland who he feels failed to explain the reason why the Scottish Government has cut the winter budget of NHS Tayside in half.

Mr Fraser raised the matter with Nicola Sturgeon today (Thursday) during First Minister’s Question Time, when he asked her if she could give an assurance that elderly and vulnerable patients will not be put at risk from the winter funding being slashed from £737,000 last year to just £396,000 this year. The Scottish Conservative MSP, who represents the Mid Scotland and Fife region, had been made aware of the shock announcement on the winter funding earlier this week.

Commenting, Mr Fraser said: “I found the response from the First Minister of Scotland to be very disappointing. She didn’t explain why the Scottish Government took the decision to cut NHS Tayside’s winter budget in half this year.

“Instead, she claimed this amount of £396,000 was an ‘initial allocation’ and that the Scottish Government will continue to discuss winter plans with health boards and see what further financial provision is required.

“However, I have found out that the funding of £737,000 for last year was paid in one tranche so I suspect this year’s funding will remain at £396,000. I find this very concerning as it could have a serious impact on elderly and vulnerable patients in my constituency.

“Also, I don’t see why the Scottish Government have slashed the winter budget of NHS Tayside in half when they are set to receive an additional £635 million in Barnett consequentials due to increased health spending south of the border.

“This SNP Government must assure us that NHS boards will get the financial resources they need for this winter.”