LABOUR must commit to funding for Scotland’s NHS if they go through with “privatisation” reforms in England if the party wins the next election, the SNP have said.

Deputy First Minister Shona Robison called on Keir Starmer “to be straight” with Scots – raising concerns about Labour’s plans to hold NHS boards in England to ransom over bringing in private companies to the health service.

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting (below) earlier this week pledged to use “the private sector to cut the waiting lists”.

The National: Wes Streeting

His comments raised alarm, with critics accusing him of wanting to privatise the NHS.

Streeting told The Sun that Labour would pump an extra £1.1 billion into the health service – but only if the NHS agreed to use the money to pay staff overtime for working evenings and weekends.

He added that this would involve using the “spare capacity in the private sector”.

Robison said: “Like people across Scotland, I am beyond disgusted to see Keir Starmer's Labour Party proudly announcing plans for privatisation reforms to the NHS. It’s a disgrace.

“The SNP will always stand by our steadfast commitment to protect the NHS in Scotland, keep it in public hands and ensure it is free at the point of use.

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“However, with the future of the NHS at risk from Westminster, it’s time for Labour to be straight with people in Scotland about what a right-wing Keir Starmer government would mean for them.”

Robison (below) raised concerns Labour may deny funding to NHS trusts in England if they refused to use the private sector – which could reduce the money allotted to Scotland.

The National: Deputy FM Shona Robison makes a statement to the Scottish Parliament on October 31

She added: “Will Scotland’s NHS get the full amount of funding it is entitled to under the Barnett formula if NHS trusts in England don't get funding because they refuse to sign up to Labour’s ill-defined privatisation reforms?

“It would be outrageous if the funding for Scotland’s NHS gets slashed because Labour is doing whatever it takes to appeal to Tory voters in the England – it would underline, once again, that Scotland will always be ignored by the Westminster parties.

“At the General Election, it is clear that only a vote for the SNP is a vote to demand the funding our NHS needs and protect Scotland's NHS from Westminster privatisation.”

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Scottish Labour hit back, pointing out Health Secretary Neil Gray had in February said he was open to using the private healthcare sector to drive down waiting times if the NHS remained free for patients at the point of use.

The National: Jackie Baillie

The party’s health spokesperson Jackie Baillie (above) said: “The SNP’s dishonest attacks on Labour reek of desperation.

“The future of Scotland’s NHS is under threat because of the SNP’s disastrous mismanagement, with more and more Scots being forced to pay for private healthcare to escape record waiting lists.

“Labour will not only protect our NHS but renew and rebuild it so that it is fit for the future.

“Labour’s plans to take on tax dodgers will deliver an extra £134 million pounds every year for Scotland’s NHS.

“While the SNP snipes from the sidelines, Scottish Labour is focused on delivering for the people of Scotland by tackling NHS waiting lists, cutting bills, making work pay and strengthening our economy.”