The Scottish Government has been called upon to help people out of the workforce due to illness get back into employment.
Figures this week showed 264,000 Scots were economically inactive due to illness last year.
Between July 2021 and June 2022, 23,000 people were inactive due to temporary illness, while 241,000 people stayed out of the workforce because of long-term illnesses.
The total figure increased from 240,000 in the year up to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, with a jump of 16,000 long term sick.
Scottish Labour economy spokesman Daniel Johnson said the issue was caused by “record NHS waiting lists, a woeful response to long Covid and stretched mental health services”.
He said: “The SNP’s disastrous stewardship of our NHS is taking its toll on Scotland’s economy as well as our health and wellbeing.
“Thousands of people have been forced out of work due to ill health during a cost-of-living crisis, but the Government don’t seem interested.
“We will never get the economic transformation we need when workers are up against record NHS waiting lists, a woeful response to long Covid and stretched mental health services.
“We urgently need to tackle this crisis and support workers struggling with their health, so we can build a fairer and stronger economy that works for everyone.”
The Scottish Health Survey, published last week, suggested 5% of people in Scotland had long Covid while mental wellbeing is declining.
A spokesperson for health secretary Humza Yousaf, said: “The SNP Government is delivering record levels of funding and staffing for Scotland’s NHS, including our £600m winter plan which will see us recruit 1,000 new NHS staff, including up to 750 frontline nurses from overseas.
“But Labour’s attack is the absolute height of hypocrisy given they are a pro-Brexit party which has fully embraced the Tory policy of cutting off the immigration which is so vital for our NHS and other public services.
“Anas Sarwar and Daniel Johnson should be embarrassed by Keir Starmer’s wholesale embrace of right-wing Tory rhetoric on immigration.”
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