Nicola Sturgeon is to confirm plans for a £2.5bn increase in spending on Scotland’s NHS as the country recovers from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The investment will be announced at the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday as the First Minister sets out the Programme for Government (PFG).
During the Scottish election campaign earlier this year, the SNP pledged to increase frontline NHS spending by at least 20% over the course of the next parliament.
The Scottish Government has stated that the first rise will be confirmed in the 2022/23 budget being published later this year, providing additional funding of at least £2.5bn by 2026/27.
Sturgeon said that the increase will help “transform” the way that services are delivered.
“We owe our health and social care services, and the extraordinary staff who kept them running in the toughest of years, our immense gratitude,” she said.
“As we emerge from the pandemic, we will strengthen and improve our health and social care system so that everyone gets the care they need, while recognising and repaying the efforts of staff given the toll the pandemic has had on them.
“We are already investing record amounts in out NHS, but this 20% increase will help transform the way we deliver services and ensure the system is ready to meet the challenges which still lie ahead.”
Sturgeon said that the creation of a National Care Service, with the plans also being set out in the PFG, will mark the “biggest reform of health and social care since the creation of the NHS”.
She said: “Our recent NHS recovery plan set out measures to establish a network of cancer diagnostic centres, refurbish NHS facilities across Scotland and make unprecedented investment in mental health services.
“The creation of a National Care Service will also mark the biggest reform of health and social care since the creation of the NHS and will help ensure every patient’s care journey is focused on the individual.”
The First Minister added that the PFG will allow the health service to continue managing Covid-19.
“Recovery from COVID-19 across all of society is the Scottish Government’s first and most pressing priority,” she said.
“I am determined that this Programme for Government will allow our health service to continue managing Covid-19 and our longer term population health challenges.”
The PFG will also include plans for a green, fair economic recovery, the provision of opportunities for young people, and a focus on achieving a just transition to net zero.