HUMZA Yousaf will set out an NHS recovery plan in the first 100 days of Parliament and aims to have the National Care Service up and running within five years.

The Cabinet Secretary was speaking during a Health Recovery debate in Holyrood yesterday and said that the efforts of the public had “drastically and dramatically” reduced the impact on the NHS.

However the pandemic has been a “significant challenge” for the NHS, and Yousaf said that his main priority is remobilising the health service and supporting the mental health and wellbeing of staff.

READ MORE: All the lockdown level changes from Nicola Sturgeon's Covid update

Yousaf said: “We have to be frank about the impact the pandemic has had on the NHS, that’s why within 100 days of this government we’re going to publish an NHS recovery plan that aims to not only restore activity to previous levels, but crucially as many members across the chamber have urged us to do, to exceed them.

“We will work with the front line to design and implement sustainable ways of ensuring people are seen more quickly, while maintaining quality of care. We will not wait for the recovery plan to be published to remobilise our NHS.

“We’ve already opened the first of three new fast-track cancer diagnostic centres in NHS Dumfries and Galloway, it’s already seeing patients, with the other two centres opening their doors in a matter of a few weeks.”

Fast-track diagnostics centres are part of the Scottish Government’s plan to clear a backlog of patients caused by cancer screening having to be paused during the peak of the pandemic.

There were also commitments to focus on Women’s Health, with a plan to be brought forward within the first 100 days of the parliament, a reduction in waiting times for care and treatment and to increase inpatient, day case and outpatient activity to 10%. Yousaf gave some key details on how the National Care Service will be created – a key portfolio area given to him when he took over the mantle of Health Secretary from Jeane Freeman.

Yousaf hailed the incoming National Care Service as “the most significant public sector reform” since the NHS was established. He said: “Our commitment to create a National Care Service will deliver services founded on fairness, equality and human rights and will be placed on the same level of esteem as our National Health Service.

READ MORE: WATCH: Laughter erupts in Holyrood after Humza Yousaf's quip at Jackie Baillie

“This will be the most significant public sector reform since the creation of the NHS in 1948 and will be operational within the five-year life time of this parliament. In our first 100 days we will begin a consultation on the necessary legislation with a view to introducing it in the first year of this parliament and we will also establish a social covenant steering group including those with lived experience who use our care services to make sure that they are part of the co-design process.

“I look forward to working across the chamber to protect and support our National Health Service and create and develop our National Care Service. I know that everyone in this chamber values and cherishes the work of our NHS and care staff and all that they have done in this pandemic.”

Gillian Mackay, health spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, said: “I welcome the commitment from the Scottish Government to produce an NHS Recovery plan within the first 100 days. It’s great to see tackling waiting times on the Cabinet Secretary’s agenda but those who have been waiting for a long time for treatment will want to see this acted on quickly.

“While the speed at which the government wants to work is very welcome,the remobilisation must be sustainable and not push an already tired workforce to breaking point.”