SCOTLAND’S First Minister has said the principle of the NHS being free for all is “not up for discussion” following a report which said health service leaders had discussed the potential creation of a “two-tier” system that would charge the wealthy. 

Leaked minutes of a meeting with high-ranking health officials, seen by BBC Scotland, say they were given the “green light” by NHS Scotland chief executive Caroline Lamb to discuss reforming the service. 

The BBC came in for criticism on their reporting of the meeting, with Humza Yousaf hitting saying reports of plans for privatisation were “complete baloney”.

Speaking to the PA news agency, Nicola Sturgeon said: “The founding principles of the National Health Service are not up for discussion.

READ MORE: The truth about Scotland's NHS: 'Crisis goes back to coalition'

“It’s democratically elected governments who decide the policy basis of the National Health Service.”

When asked if she or ministers knew NHS leaders were taking part in these discussions, the First Minister said: “I don’t dictate to NHS chief executives what they can and can’t discuss – we live in a democracy.”

The First Minister said the NHS in Scotland was outperforming those elsewhere in the UK and pledged the support of her Government for the service.

“Let me be unequivocally clear, we will do that within those long established, well accepted and, I think, almost universally supported principles of a public service free at the point of use and need,” she said.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf reiterated the Scottish Government’s commitment to the care service.

“In our five-year NHS recovery plan we have outlined our commitment to continued investment and reform of the NHS, alongside delivering the National Care Service”, he said.

Sturgeon recently said Humza Yousaf has her "absolute confidence" despite calls from opposition politicans for him to be sacked.