Rural Health Services (Support)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 8th September 2021.

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Photo of Finlay Carson Finlay Carson Conservative

7. To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to support rural health services following the end of the Covid-19 pandemic. (S6O-00105)

Photo of Humza Yousaf Humza Yousaf Scottish National Party

Our NHS recovery plan sets out key ambitions and actions to be developed and delivered now and over the next five years, including in rural areas. As I said, the recovery plan is backed by £1 billion of targeted investment.

The Scottish Government remains committed to the recommendations that are set out in Sir Lewis Ritchie’s “Shaping the Future Together: Report of the Remote and Rural General Practice Working Group”. We aim to enhance primary care across remote, rural and island communities by ensuring stability for rural general practitioner incomes alongside other measures that support innovative approaches to the use of information technology and physical infrastructure, as well as supporting recruitment and retention practices in rural areas.

Following the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections, the recommendation to create a centre for excellence for rural and remote medicine is now a Scottish Government manifesto commitment on which we will deliver in this parliamentary term.

Photo of Finlay Carson Finlay Carson Conservative

Yesterday, it was revealed that more than 1,600 children have been waiting for over a year for mental health support. Alarmingly, in my constituency, nearly two thirds of young people seeking help have not been seen within the 18-week national health service target time. That is absolutely shameful—as, I am sure, the cabinet secretary will agree. They are a lost generation of vulnerable children and young people, particularly in the wake of the pandemic. Despite promises from the Scottish Government, services remain—

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

Question, Mr Carson.

Photo of Finlay Carson Finlay Carson Conservative

When will the Government finally act and provide adequate and timely support for my constituents?

Photo of Humza Yousaf Humza Yousaf Scottish National Party

In answer to a previous question, my colleague Kevin Stewart outlined the 80 per cent increase in CAMHS staff under this Government; an increase in spending on mental health promised by this Government; £1 billion of additional spending in the recovery plan; and an increase of 320 in the number of CAMHS staff.

Where there are specific issues in rural areas, I am, of course, happy to work with the member to address those, but I give him an absolute and categorical assurance that mental health—particularly that of our children and young people—is a Government priority.

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

I earlier asked members to be brief in their questions and ministers to be equally brief in their responses. We have not seen any evidence of that, so I am going to have to consider how we go about trying to strim this back. We have three supplementaries on the next question alone, none of which I will be able to take.