News / Scots’ £1bn recovery plan

31 August 2021 Seamus Ward

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PORTRAIT_news_shutterstock_NicolaSturgeonNHS recovery plan 2021-2026 also pledges to increase inpatient and day-case activity through a network of national treatment centres (NTCs), which will provide elective procedures and diagnostic activity.

The original NTC – at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital – will be joined by six centres currently being developed, and two more units in Ayrshire and Cumbernauld.

The plan commits a further £70m to develop the two centres, on top of the £330m already allocated to the NTC programme.

A replacement for the Edinburgh Eye Pavilion will see the NTC network grow to 10 centres.

It is expected that the network will deliver an additional 40,000 elective procedures a year by 2026, and this will accelerate to 50,000 from 2026 onwards. Also, £29m will be targeted at removing diagnostic backlogs, with 78,000 additional procedures in the current financial year. Further funding will increase the procedures to 90,000 per year by 2025/26.

The plan pledges £11m for a new international recruitment campaign over five years that will seek to recruit 1,500 NTC staff, and 1,000 primary care mental health staff.

The government also recommits to the targets in the Integrated national workforce plan, such as recruiting 800 more GPs by 2026.

Health unions are concerned about the ongoing impact of the pandemic on staffing levels, and urged the government to adopt a cautious approach to recovery. An additional £3m a year will provide enhanced wellbeing support, bringing overall funding to £8m a year.

To ease the pressure on A&E, urgent care will be redesigned using £23m, ensuring rapid access to a clinician by phone or video consultation. Services will be placed closer to people’s home, and a new national Centre for Sustainable Delivery will pioneer better and more sustainable ways of working across NHS and social care, harnessing the benefits of technology and new treatments.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon (pictured) said NHS Scotland’s recovery would exceed pre-pandemic levels. ‘As we maintain our resilience against Covid-19 and other pressures, the Scottish government is providing targeted investment to increase capacity, reform the system and ultimately get everyone the treatment they need as quickly as possible.

‘Tackling the backlog of care is essential and will be a priority. But we want to go further than that and deliver an NHS that is innovative, sustainable and stronger than ever before.’