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Record investment to ensure Scotland’s NHS is ready to meet changing patient demands and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will be at the heart of the 2021/22 Programme for Government (PFG) this week.

This programme will confirm plans to introduce an unprecedented increase in frontline health spending of 20 percent over the current Parliament.

The first rise will be confirmed in the 2022/23 budget being published later this year and will provide additional funding of at least £2.5 billion by 2026/27.

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Set out by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in the Scottish Parliament on 7th September, the PFG will also confirm plans to introduce legislation in the coming year to establish a new National Care Service in Scotland by the end of the current Parliament, transforming the way health and social care services are provided.

Nicola said: “We owe our health and social care services, and the extraordinary staff who kept them running in the toughest of years, our immense gratitude.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, we will strengthen and improve our health and social care system so that everyone gets the care they need, while recognising and repaying the efforts of staff given the toll the pandemic has had on them.

“We are already investing record amounts in out NHS, but this 20% increase will help transform the way we deliver services and ensure the system is ready to meet the challenges which still lie ahead.”

She added that the Scottish Government’s recent NHS recovery plan outlined measures to refurbish NHS facilities across the country.

“The creation of a National Care Service will also mark the biggest reform of health and social care since the creation of the NHS and will help ensure every patient’s care journey is focused on the individual,” the first minister continued.

“Recovery from COVID-19 across all of society is the Scottish Government’s first and most pressing priority and I am determined that this Programme for Government will allow our health service to continue managing COVID-19 and our longer term population health challenges.”

Primary care funding will go up by 25 percent over the course of this parliament, with half of all frontline health spending invested in community health services.

The PFG will also confirm plans to invest £29 million to provide an additional 78,000 diagnostic procedures, as well as increasing inpatient and day case activity by 10 percent in 2022/23 and outpatient activity by 10 percent by 2025/26.

The first £50 million, of the planned £250 million increased investment to tackle the drugs death emergency, will also be provided.

Published every year at the beginning of September, the PFG outlines the actions the Scottish Government will take in the coming year and beyond. It includes the legislative programme for the next parliamentary year to drive forward change across all levels of society.

In May, the government confirmed that NHS workers in Scotland would receive an average wage increase of four percent.

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