Boris Johnson is “lying to us all” over his claims that the NHS is not for sale, the Scottish Liberal Democrats have said.
Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP, speaking on a visit to the Western General hospital in Edinburgh on Sunday, warned of the threat to the NHS of a potential post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and Donald Trump.
The Conservatives have accused their political opponents of scaremongering over the suggestions that parts of the NHS could be sold off, which they have denied they would do.
“Donald Trump is a serious and direct threat to our beloved NHS,” said Mr Cole-Hamilton.
“Our NHS is a vital public service which must be protected from commercial exploitation, we need to keep it out of the hands of Donald Trump.
“Johnson and Trump are in cahoots to sell off our NHS, despite Johnson’s insistence that the NHS is not for sale. Yet again, Johnson is lying to us all.”
Mr Cole-Hamilton added that there are “enough problems” facing the NHS in Scotland without the potential involvement of US pharmaceutical firms.
He said: “Waiting times are deteriorating, mental health services are at breaking point and health boards can’t recruit the staff they need.
“The NHS is facing enough problems under the SNP without adding ravenous US pharmaceutical companies into the mix.
“At this election, voters should choose Liberal Democrat MPs who will stop Brexit and work with like-minded allies to build an open, tolerant world, not Conservative MPs in the pocket of Donald Trump.”
In a speech in St Andrews on Saturday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that the NHS would never be safe in the hands of the Conservatives.
“Make no mistake – Brexit is the biggest threat to Scotland’s NHS since it was founded just over 70 years ago,” said Ms Sturgeon.
“It is a real and present danger to our precious, publicly-run health service.
“Brexit will make it harder to attract NHS staff from Europe. The economy will slow down, putting increased pressure on NHS budgets.”
The First Minister added: “US drugs firms want ‘full market access’ to the NHS in any Tory-Trump trade deal – raising the prices the health service has to pay.
“The Foreign Secretary has even complained that Scotland has too many nurses and ambulance staff compared with the rest of the UK.
“This all adds up to a sustained Tory assault on Scotland’s health service. The NHS will never be safe in Tory hands.”