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FMQs: Sturgeon rejects charge of NHS at “breaking point”

Nicola Sturgeon was accused of presiding over a health system at “breaking point” as figures revealed spiralling stress levels among NHS Scotland staff.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale told First Minister’s Questions that 287,000 working days were lost in the NHS in 2014/15 because of staff stress – an increase of 21% over two years.

NHS Fife lost 18,487 days – a 31% rise over the same time period – while Tayside has been fairly static at about 31,741 over two years, the freedom of information figures show.

Referring to separate interventions from GPs and nurses this week about the state of the NHS, Ms Dugdale said: “Our NHS is at breaking point. Hard-working loyal staff are crying out for help.”

She added: “This really matters because it puts vital NHS services facing SNP cuts under even more pressure.”

Ms Sturgeon said the NHS is the “most valued, most cherished, most precious public service” which relies on the dedication of staff.

She said there is a “divide between the Labour party who come here and present what they describe as problems and an SNP Government getting on with the job of delivering solutions”.

She added: “I am very proud that since this Government took office in 2007 we have seen an increase in the number of people working in our health service of 10,500 people.

“We are also increasing the budget for the NHS next year by £400m and as well as that investment we have set out very detailed budgets about how we want to reshape and reform the NHS to build up social care”.

MSPs also traded blows on the Aberdeen City Deal, including improvements to the Dundee to Aberdeen railway line and the Laurencekirk junction, climate change targets and “cannon fodder” comments from an unnamed SNP figure about cadets.

For more see Friday’s Courier.

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