Humza Yousaf hires the Scottish National Care Service within five years

HUMZA Yousaf will set out an NHS recovery plan within the first 100 days of Parliament and aims to have the National Care Service up and running within five years.

The Cabinet Secretary was speaking during a health recovery debate at Holyrood yesterday and said the public’s efforts had ‘significantly and significantly’ reduced the impact on the NHS.

However, the pandemic has been a “significant challenge” for the NHS, and Yousaf said his main priority was to remobilize the health service and support the mental health and wellbeing of staff.

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Yousaf said: “We need to be candid about the impact the pandemic has had on the NHS, which is why within 100 days of this government we will be releasing an NHS recovery plan which aims not only to restore the activity at previous levels, but crucial, as many members across the House have urged us to do, to exceed them.

“We will work with the front line to design and implement sustainable ways to ensure people are seen faster, while maintaining quality of care. We will not wait for the publication of the recovery plan to remobilize our NHS.

“We have already opened the first of three new fast-track cancer diagnostic centers in NHS Dumfries and Galloway, it is already seeing patients, with the other two centers opening in a few weeks.”

The fast-track diagnostic centers are part of the Scottish Government‘s plan to clear a backlog of patients caused by cancer screening having to be halted during the peak of the pandemic.

There were also commitments to focus on women’s health, with a plan to be presented within the first 100 days of parliament, a reduction in waiting times for care and treatment and a 10% increase in inpatient, outpatient and outpatient activity. Yousaf gave some key details on how the National Care Service will be created – a key portfolio area given to him when he took over as health secretary from Jeane Freeman.

Yousaf hailed the new National Care Service as ‘the most significant public sector reform’ since the NHS was created. He said: “Our commitment to creating a National Care Service will provide services based on fairness, equality and human rights and will be placed on the same level of esteem as our National Health Service.

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“This will be the most significant public sector reform since the creation of the NHS in 1948 and will be operational during the five years in office of this parliament. In our first 100 days we will begin consultation on the legislation needed to introduce it in the first year of this legislature and we will also establish a social pact steering group comprising people with lived experience who use our care services to ensure they are part of the co-design process.

“I look forward to working across the chamber to protect and support our National Health Service and to create and grow our National Care Service. I know everyone in this room appreciates and cherishes the work of our NHS and our healthcare staff and all they have done in this pandemic.

Gillian Mackay, Scottish Greens health spokesperson, said: “I welcome the Scottish Government‘s commitment to produce an NHS recovery plan within the first 100 days. It’s great to see tackling wait times on the Cabinet Secretary’s agenda, but those who have been waiting for treatment for a long time will want this implemented quickly.

“While the speed at which the government wants to work is very welcome, the remobilization must be sustainable and not push an already tired workforce to breaking point.”