Although he has been called a “gimp” by a schoolgirl, Pete Wishart is one of the SNP’s most experienced MPs. This week he took part in BBC Question Time and he made many points, but his views on the NHS in Scotland were particularly interesting:
Let’s look at that…
Pete says: The NHS in Scotland is devolved and there is “no way on earth” we’d ever go down any sort of privatisation route.
This is odd as during the referendum the SNP’s Alex Salmond warned Scots that only a Yes vote could save the NHS in Scotland from privatisation. I guess that threat has passed. Phew!
Pete says: Private sector involvement in providing buildings for our NHS give the tax payer a bad deal.
He is clearly referring to PFI/PPP procurement. The SNP don’t like to admit it but they are big fans of PFI. They know it is controversial, so they call it “Non-Profit Distribution” – don’t be fooled by the name, it is PFI. In Edinburgh, the new Sick Kids Hospital and the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service facility are being procured by the SNP using NPD/PFI. Indeed, just this week John Swinney announced a new batch of projects which will be procured via NPD/PFI.
Pete says: Private sector involvement in healthcare delivery has not increased under the SNP.
This is bonkers. We know that about £82 million was spent by the SNP Government on private health firms last year, compared with £75.9 million last year and £58m in 2006-7 when the SNP came to power. This increase comes after the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s pledge to save Scotland from the “creeping privatisation” of the NHS south of the border.
This does not include the involvement of the private sector in social care. One business which has benefited from this is Balhousie Care Group, Scotland’s largest private residential care home provider. The Chairman and founder is Tony Banks, a millionaire who is a key player in the independence movement.
Pete Says: Sometimes private involvement in the NHS is “necessary”.
What he means is that it’s fine when the SNP do it.
Conclusion: Pete Wishart has been talking rubbish again.