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Joan McAlpine has condemned the Labour Party’s record on health across the UK and highlighted that the NHS can only be protected by sending a strong group of SNP MPs to Westminster this May. 


Ms McAlpine’s comments came during a parliamentary debate led by Scottish Labour health spokesperson Jenny Marra attacking the SNP for a supposed lack of transparency on NHS statistics – despite the fact Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy was caught red-handed fiddling waiting times figures the previous day.


Mr Murphy alleged that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde had cancelled four times as many operations as their counterparts in England. However, it quickly emerged that Labour had vastly inflated the figure in Glasgow by including operations which were cancelled for clinical reasons, while the English figure referred to only those cancelled for non-clinical reasons.


Ms McAlpine said:


“Labour’s misrepresentation was not a minor matter; out of the 292 cancelled operations that were cited by Jim Murphy, more than 200 were cancelled for clinical reasons—that is more than 70 per cent. Ms Marra is on very shaky ground when she comes here to talk about honesty, transparency and statistics, given Labour’s own appalling record on such matters—on hidden waiting lists.


Ms McAlpine also criticised Ms Marra for citing the consultancy McKinsey  – a company that has been exposed for its role in privatising the NHS in England – to attack the Scottish NHS.


She said:


“McKinsey drew up many of the clauses in the Health and Social Care Act 2012—the legislation that has taken the NHS in England far down the road towards privatisation; a journey, incidentally, that began with Tony Blair’s Labour Party when it established foundation hospitals in England.  McKinsey is already benefiting from contracts arising from that legislation. Serious concerns have been expressed about the revolving door between the marketised English NHS, McKinsey and the Government. Indeed, one of McKinsey’s executives was an adviser to Tony Blair and then went on to head up Monitor, which is the regulator of the NHS south of the border.


“McKinsey, worked closely with the last UK Labour Government on health, and in 2009 it produced a report recommending that the NHS in England cut 10 per cent of its staff. Within weeks of the coalition taking power, McKinsey had been awarded a £6 million contract by the UK government. Serious questions have been raised about the fact that McKinsey represents private healthcare companies around the world, which is a serious conflict of interest when it has worked with the NHS in England. Ms Marra should be very careful about who she cites in evidence to trash the Scottish NHS.”


Ms McAlpine continued by highlighting the SNP’s excellent record on health, saying:


“This Government has a very good record on health. We have 17,000 more nurses than we had under Labour, and those are real nurses, not the fictitious 1,000-plus nurses of Jim Murphy’s imagination. We have 13,000 more consultants. Perhaps most important of all, patient satisfaction is higher in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK. According to the social attitudes survey, 75 per cent of patients are satisfied with the NHS in Scotland compared with 51 per cent in Wales, where the NHS is in Labour’s hands.


“The NHS in Scotland is more trusted in the SNP’s hands, according to a Survation poll taken in January. I have to say that I am not very surprised by that statistic, given the lies that Labour is prepared to tell in order to gain political advantage in this matter.”