I've welcomed the news that a former Health Secretary has “put his head above the parapet” and spoken out about the condition of the NHS under the SNP Government.
The comments came as the former Health Secretary launched a new options paper, which he described as a stimulus for a national debate on the NHS.
It has been clear to patients and staff for some time that the SNP Government is not prepared to get to grips with the challenges facing our health service. But it will be embarrassing for the Health Secretary to hear this from her predecessor.
Given that he was Health Secretary for more than two years, it is telling that Alex Neil hasn’t put his head above the parapet before now. Healthy debate makes for better policies, so why were none of these more radical ideas floated earlier? The truth is it says a great deal about an SNP Government obsessed with independence and which doesn’t tolerate any rocking of the boat, criticism or alternate thinking within its own ranks.
A week after charities panned the new mental health strategy as lacking ambition, this senior SNP backbencher has said plans to tackle the GP crisis are ‘nowhere near enough’. It is time SNP ministers were finally ambitious for our NHS, starting with transforming mental health and ending the GP crisis.