NHS spending on private healthcare falls to five-year low
A total of £72m was paid out in 2016/17, a drop of £6.5m compared to the previous year.
The amount of money spent by NHS Scotland on private healthcare has fallen to a five-year low, new figures show.
Health minister Shona Robison revealed the drop in payments to private hospitals in a written answer to Conservative shadow health secretary Miles Briggs.
NHS Scotland pays the companies to provide services when they otherwise cannot.
A total of £72m was paid out to the firms in 2016/17, a drop of £6.5m compared to the previous year.
Spending on the practice was up 19.17% year-on-year by the country's largest health board, Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
Robison said: "NHS territorial boards continue to make limited use of the independent and private sector for healthcare services.
"Total spend decreased from £78.5m in 2015-16 to £72m in 2016-17."
Following the publication, Briggs said: "Listening to the SNP you would think private healthcare was an evil that isn't welcome in Scotland. Yet now we see it spends millions every month using it to help out the NHS.
"We believe the independent sector plays a vital role in reducing waiting lists and helping out an increasingly under-strain NHS.
"It's time the SNP admitted that, rather than reverting to its dogmatic playbook to appease the extremes of the independence movement."
Spending by individual health board
- Ayrshire & Arran: £3.627m.
- Borders: £3.695m.
- Dumfries and Galloway: £2.556m.
- Fife: £1.994m.
- Forth Valley: £2.346m.
- Grampian: £4.067m.
- Greater Glasgow and Clyde: £20.433m.
- Highland: £4.084m.
- Lanarkshire: £9.243m.
- Lothian: £9.578m.
- Orkney: £435,000.
- Shetland: £153,000.
- Tayside: £8.86m.
- Western Isles: £939,000.