THE SNP have called on Anas Sarwar to “grow a backbone” over Labour's NHS privatisation plans.

It comes after shadow health secretary Wes Streeting, in an article for the Sun, said he would force the NHS to use services from the private health sector.

The top Labour MP also claimed that people complaining about it were “middle-class lefties” – and added that a Labour government would not provide any additional funding for the health service unless the private sector is used to cut waiting lists.

SNP MSP and convener of Holyrood’s Health Committee, Clare Haughey, said Scottish Labour leader Sarwar was “noticeably quiet” after the comments.

Healthcare is devolved to Scotland but funding decisions made by the UK Government for the services in England have a direct impact on funding north of the Border.

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She added: “In Scotland, the Labour party’s message is being heard loud and clear – a Labour government will put profit before healthcare and dismantle the NHS bit by bit.

Westminster parties are woefully out of touch with the people of Scotland and cannot be trusted; but it is unclear where Labour’s branch office stands.”

“Anas Sarwar has been noticeably quiet since Wes Streeting’s latest intervention, and it is high time he is honest with the Scottish people about whether he supports Labour’s plans.

“While Scottish Labour stays silent on this threat to our NHS, the SNP is protecting our health service from Westminster austerity, increasing funding in real terms and standing up for Scotland’s values.”

Haughey added that the threat posed by Streeting’s plans “must be taken seriously” given a Labour Westminster governemnt is “almost inevitable”.

“And if Sarwar has any integrity whatsoever he must oppose them,” she added.

“It’s clear that Labour’s values are not Scotland’s values, and the SNP is the only party standing up for our NHS – which will only be truly safe in an independent Scotland.”