Alison Johnstone MSP, Health and Wellbeing spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today urged ministers to clarify plans for six new elective centres to cater for rising demand for hip and knee replacements and cataract operations.
In October First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that £200 million would be invested to extend the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank and develop new elective treatment centres at St John's in Livingston, Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, Raigmore Hospital in Inverness and Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
But in response to a parliamentary question from Alison, the Scottish Government says it cannot say what that £200m cost covers because the services to be provided at each site have not been agreed.
Alison Johnstone, Health spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for Lothian, said:
"Demand for elective procedures such as hip and knee replacements and cataract operations is set to rise substantially and the prospect of new centres of excellence makes sense. What doesn't make sense is why the Scottish Government doesn't yet know what services these centres will provide yet is confident enough to confirm a price tag of £200million. Does this budget cover land acquisition, construction, equipment, and - vitally - new staff?
"Given the recruitment and retention problems we have in the NHS it is essential that ministers make clear whether these new centres and the expansion of the Golden Jubilee will use the existing workforce or will fund additional qualified staff to meet the growing demand."