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Labour accuses Scottish government of cancelling its NHS remobilisation group

SCOTTISH Labour accused the SNP today of cancelling its NHS remobilisation group, describing the decision as “unthinkably reckless.”

Labour said papers obtained through freedom of information requests confirmed that the group, set up last year with a focus on remobilising the NHS after the initial Covid-19 lockdown, has been cancelled under Health Secretary Humza Yousaf despite concerns from key stakeholders.

It said that the group has not met since May’s Scottish Parliament election and that the government has cancelled all of its future meetings, with no new engagement plan in place.

Scottish Labour said the papers also show that the Scottish government was warned at the start of the year about mounting pressures on the NHS.

The opposition party accused Mr Yousaf of ignoring the warnings and trying to “bury his head in the sand.”

Jackie Baillie MSP said: “It is astounding that the government would scrap this key group when our NHS is teetering on the brink of a full-blown crisis.

“The SNP insist that NHS remobilisation is a priority, but this unthinkably reckless move shows that isn’t the case.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The NHS Scotland £1 billion Recovery Plan was published in August, following previous input from the remobilisation group. Following the election the ‘System Response Group’ (SRG) was established, chaired by NHS Scotland’s Chief Operating Officer, which is taking forward the remobilisation and recovery of our NHS.

“The SRG is comprised of strategic leaders from across the NHS and care systems and engages with wide array of stakeholders. NHS and Social Care workforce planning also takes place through the National Workforce Planning Group and the National Workforce Forum, with the latter overseeing the forthcoming publication of a National Workforce Strategy.
 
“Our recent £300 million winter investment package will help prepare the NHS and support its staff for the pressures of the coming months. NHS staffing has increased to record high levels and we’re committed to going further.”

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