Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 18th May 2017.

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The First Minister:

We have moved health boards much closer to parity, as it is called, than they were when we took office. Under NRAC, which replaced the Arbuthnott formula, we continue to do that.

On the specific issue that Lewis Macdonald raised, we are clear with all health boards that patients who are waiting for treatment such as elective surgery must be seen as quickly as possible. It is important that patients with the highest clinical priority, such as cancer patients, are seen extremely quickly.

We are investing additional resources. We have also been working with NHS Grampian and other health boards on further investment, which we will announce soon. That investment will help boards to build up their capacity, and particularly their elective capacity, to make sure that all patients are treated in a timely fashion.

Waiting times in our health service are shorter than they were when the Government first took office, but demand on our health service continues to rise, mainly because of the ageing population, so we must continue to work with health boards and make sure that they have the resources that are required to continue to deliver the standard of service that patients deserve.