The ability of the Scottish National Party to effectively run the National Health Service in Scotland have been questioned by a prominent newspaper in the country.
Writing on the issue as a leading article, the Scotsman suggest that the NHS can be considered one of the great British achievements of the 20th century.
And there is no doubt that political parties of all hues and persuasions tend to speak glowingly of the service, and their commitment to it.
For example, during the 2014 independence referendum campaign, both ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ campaigns proclaimed that only their preferred result would ensure the NHS continued to thrive.
Yet the Scotsman newspaper claims that the Scottish NHS is in a state of crisis, and this has indeed been the case for many years.
The Scottish Labour Party has obtained figures which indicate that more than 130,000 patients were treated in the wrong wards over the past two years.
And First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement last week that the Scottish Government is to make available £27 million – to employ 500 more nurses and create 50 new places in medical schools – while welcome, represented a clear recognition of existing ills in the NHS.
While the situation is vastly different south of the border, Scottish Parliamentary constituents have been dominated by the Scottish National Party over the last few years.
And the general belief is that the Scottish people now view political independence as a significant possibility, even though in the recent referendum a ‘No’ vote was ultimately lodged.
But despite the power of the Scottish National Party, the ability of the party to run the NHS effectively is being called into question.
While it has been acknowledged that financial difficulties are unquestionably causing problems for the NHS in Scotland, the question of financial management is also central to the future of the organisation.
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale recently proposed that new powers, soon to be handed to Holyrood, should be used to raise income tax by a penny in the pound. This would raise vital funds and offer a brighter future for the NHS.
But the Scottish National Party has strongly opposed this position, while failing to deliver what the Scotsman believes to be an adequate NHS north of the border.
The newspaper suggests that the party should at least consider raising income tax, considering the political capital that it has built up in the nation.
It asserts that the leader of the Scottish National Party, Nicola Sturgeon, has proudly described herself as a progressive, and that no solution to the NHS crisis should be off the table in this context.