THE SCOTTISH Conservatives Health spokesman has said if the NHS was run like a business it would probably be a failure.
Sandesh Gulhane, speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative party conference in Manchester, said General Practice (GP) was the “most efficient” part of the health service, but added: “If you ran a private business in the way we run our NHS, I don’t really think that business would be there for too long.”
He added: “I remember being in hospital and I needed to do something slightly different and six managers had to be called before a decision could be made.
“We need to think about having more efficiency.”
Later, during a keynote speech to the conference, Mr Gulhane praised his NHS colleagues for their efforts during the pandemic, but added that they were like an “army of lions being led by sheep”.
He said: “I think we need to be very clear that if we don’t work together, we allow separatism and we allow people to divide us, we simply won’t be doing as good a job.
“As for Scotland’s health service, it’s amazing doctors, nurses, ambulance crews and support staff… It’s been a tale of an army of lions, led by sheep.
“COVID has brought the SNP’s hapless stewardship since 2007 into sharp focus. I was deeply frustrated and angry at times.
“During the toughest of the most fearful months there were also be plenty of reasons to be inspired, and to be hopeful.”
The GP said he had been so scared about Covid that he had “got changed on the front porch” and did not touch his wife or newborn baby for two months after she was born for fear of infecting them while continuing to work.
He also spoke of how he had been inspired by “British science” and the country’s “world-class researchers”, as well as the clapping for the NHS which took place in the early stages of the pandemic every Thursday night at 8pm.
Mr Gulhane added: “The whole neighbourhood, the whole nation, the whole United Kingdom [had] doors and windows opened unashamedly banging pots, clapping for the NHS and all key workers who kept the country going.
“This was uplifting.
“Even Rangers the Celtic got along, for a while.
“There was a feeling of togetherness, we could get through this, we could get through anything. “We’d look out for each other.”
The MSP added that his “pandemic story” was going “from our spare room in my house to the front bench of the Scottish Conservatives in Holyrood” and added: “There’s been frustration on the way and as I’ve said some anger. But the key drivers are hope and inspiration underpinned by what we do best – British solidarity, British science and British success.”
Annabelle Goldie, veteran Scottish Conservative and now a peer- and the UK government’s defence minister, also praised the work of the armed forces in helping out during the pandemic at the same event.
She said the military had been “absolute heroes”, and added: “That was our family of nations being supported by our United Kingdom.
“We’re helping delivering fuel in England, for example, we’re bringing essential support for the Scottish ambulance service, standing ready to help the NHS in Wales and Northern Ireland.
“I know how much the public across the UK values that help. And with the strength of our United Kingdom defence we can continue to combine that, and that to me is a just another illustration of the strength Union.”