Investing in our National Health Service and tackling health inequalities.
- Significant investment in our health services and workforce
- Tackling health inequalities
The Health and Sport portfolio is responsible for over £13 billion of resource spend annually, and we have continued our record investment in our NHS as part of the commitment to increase health funding by at least £2 billion over the lifetime of this Parliament. This spend includes significant investment in research and development, digital infrastructure and capital investment, all of which contribute to provision of apprenticeship opportunities, high quality employment and applications of new technology.
High Quality Healthcare
Delivery of high quality and timely healthcare is essential, and ensures that our workers are able to remain economically active through improving health and reducing health inequalities. We are taking significant steps to close health and economic inequalities, and we are exploring financial and regulatory measures which have a universal and preventative effect in tackling the burden of disease. Achieving the current target of 4% sickness absence would generate an additional 500,000 working days annually.
We will promote recruitment from more deprived areas to NHS Scotland, which is the largest employer in Scotland, with just over 6% of the workforce. Including social care, this grows to 14% of the workforce, equivalent to 364,000 people. This employment is spread across the whole country, helping to sustain rural economies and generating local employment.
Investment in pay across the workforce is a key lever to attract and retain the skills required to deliver a sustainable service. This investment means that over 15% of the workforce are higher rate tax payers. We have awarded 147,000 NHS staff earning under £80,000 a minimum pay rise of 9% over the next three years and we will proceed with the implementation of a new contract for GPs.
The Digital Health and Care Strategy will be central in addressing the challenges and realising the opportunities we face in health and social care. Investment in our digital infrastructure is in excess of £200 million per annum.