No NHS investment plan for Scotland until ‘greater certainty’ on Brexit

A new capital investment plan for the NHS in Scotland has been delayed because of Brexit uncertainty, the Health Secretary said.

Jeane Freeman had previously told MSPs she wanted to have an investment strategy in place before the end of March 2019.

But she has now said it will be published “as soon as practicable following greater certainty on the Brexit process”.

With the NHS maintenance backlog having increased to £899 million in 2017, Scottish Labour insisted action was urgently needed.

The party’s health spokeswoman Monica Lennon said: “This plan was supposed to be in place by April – our NHS estate desperately needs investment to clear a backlog of repairs and keep our people safe.

“This is yet another example of how the Tories’ botched handling of Brexit is taking attention away from the needs of our health service.”

She added: “SNP Ministers must publish this promised plan very soon and before the £899 million maintenance backlog they have presided over increases.”

The delay in the publication of the NHS capital investment strategy was revealed in an answer to a parliamentary question submitted by SNP MSP George Adam.

He had asked the Government to “provide an update on when it plans to publish a medium-term plan for capital investment in the NHS”.

Ms Freeman said: “We will bring forward our medium-term NHS Capital Investment Strategy as soon as is practicable, following greater certainty on the Brexit process and its potential impact on the NHS capital budget beyond 2019-20.”

But in January she had told MSPs on Holyrood’s Health Committee about her “intention to put a capital investment strategy before Parliament by the end of this financial year”.

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