Salmond defends record on NHS

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Alex Salmond has again defended his government's record on the NHS, which came under attack from Labour during first minister's questions on 26 June 2014.

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont asked if the first minister had a plan for the NHS, following comments from the outgoing chairman of the British Medical Association who recently warned that tough decisions need to be made if the NHS is going to survive.

Ms Lamont quoted Dr Brian Keighley, who had said: "What I have seen over the past five years is the continuing crisis management of the longest car crash in memory - and it is time for our politicians to face up to some very hard questions."

The Scottish Labour leader asked the first minister to "tell the people of Scotland why the leader of Scotland's doctors was wrong".

Mr Salmond hit back saying the Social Attitude Survey for Scotland showed satisfaction with the NHS had risen to 61%, compared to 45% when Johann Lamont had last been a minister.

He also said Dr Keighley had "accepted we are doing everything we can within the resources that are available to us" within the Barnett Formula.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson challenged Mr Salmond on the "pounds and pence cost to separation" if there is a "Yes vote" in the referendum.

Ms Davidson highlighted a new report from the Scotland Institute as showing the "blunt financial truths that would face a separate Scotland".

She told Mr Salmond: "We may not like to hear it, but having interviewed the main credit rating agencies they say an independent Scotland is 'likely to end up with a much lower credit rating and significantly higher borrowing costs than currently enjoyed within the union'."

Mr Salmond told her credit ratings agency Standards and Poor's had said "Scotland would qualify for our highest assessment" while another agency, Moody's, had stated that "scoring for the economic strength of an independent Scotland would likely fall somewhere in the high range".

He said: "Even people in the ratings agencies, not known for their sunny optimism about the prospects of any country, if they say this about Scotland and point out Scotland is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, can't the Scottish Conservatives realise the potential of this economy and have confidence in our ability to marshal these natural resources, combine them with the talents of the people and live up to the excellence of the assessments."

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