Deputy first minister and health minister Nicola Sturgeon said ‘unlike its counterpart in England’, the NHS in Scotland would remain a public service.
In a speech to Glasgow University’s School of Law last week, she said: ‘I believe that our NHS can and will outperform the privatised experiment south of the border.’
She said the NHS in Scotland now had waiting times and rates of hospital infections lower than at any time in its history.
‘The key point is that we are able to do so because we have the power to decide how to structure and deliver our own health service, to best meet the needs of the people who depend on it,’ she said.
‘This hasn’t been achieved by NHS staff competing against each other. It has been achieved by NHS staff working together in the interests of patients.’
Ms Sturgeon said greater independence for Scotland would enable it to move further away from the UK government’s policies. ‘We desperately need to see a different approach to the current economic policies of the UK government, yet we do not have the powers to take that approach.’
Dr Laurence Buckman is in agreement with Ms Sturgeon on some issues
GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman agreed with Ms Sturgeon that the Scottish system was better than the one proposed in England because it was not based on competition.
But he said her comments would be ignored by the UK government because she was a Scottish minister.
‘Apart from the NHS in Scotland struggling for funds, it is a system which works on collaboration,’ he said. ‘It is not all wonderful but it is an improvement on where the English system is likely to go.’
Chairman of GPC Scotland Dr Dean Marshall said: ‘We share the Scottish government’s views about competition and providers.'