I AM INCREASINGLY concerned about the SNP’s record on healthcare.

Locally, we see serious staff shortages which are contributing to the ongoing closure of services such as Edington Cottage Hospital in North Berwick.

Scotland has the worst Accident and Emergency waiting times on record. Across the country, over half a million people are on NHS waiting lists and, at the turn of the year, over 2,000 children and young people were waiting more than a year for mental health treatment.

But the SNP’s record in Scotland’s care homes is worrying too. At the height of the pandemic, they allowed over 100 Covid-positive hospital patients to be sent to care homes – and a further 3,061 were not tested at all prior to discharge.

Now, the Scottish Government is preparing plans for the biggest shake-up of the public sector since devolution – a National Care Service. But don’t be fooled, because people will still be forced to sell their homes to pay for care as ministers are sidestepping the issue of funding social care.

The Scottish Government proposes to take power for social care away from councils and health boards, and hand it to Holyrood.

There are fears that elderly and vulnerable people will be moved from one side of the country to the other for care – just imagine a resident from East Lothian being sent to East Renfrewshire for a care home place.

The SNP also propose taking control of children’s services from councils.

The Scottish Conservatives have sounded alarm bells. My party has instead announced plans for a Local Care Service, with a ‘local care guarantee’ at its core.

Rather than spending years and hundreds of millions of pounds on another structural review, I want to ensure care and support is delivered as close as possible to those who need it.