Summary

  • Opposition party leaders quiz First Minister John Swinney on NHS funding and the future of North Sea oil and gas

  • Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross highlights the case of Anna McClintock's 93-year-old mother who had a six-hour ambulance wait

  • The elderly woman's experience was raised during BBC Scotland's election debate in which five Scottish party leaders answered audience questions

  • Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar says Swinney needs to get his "head out of the sand" and recognise that many are forced to go private for dental care

  • Swinney reiterates his apology to the McClintock family and insists funding the NHS is a Scottish government priority. He tells Sarwar that far more pay for private healthcare in England and "Labour-run Wales"

  • FMQs takes place three weeks into the General Election campaign. Voters will go to the polls on Thursday, 4 July. Find out who is standing in your area by clicking here

  1. Goodbyepublished at 13:18 13 June

    That's all from today's coverage of first minister's questions.

    We'll be back again next week at the same time.

    In the meantime, you can follow all the latest news from the campaign trail on the BBC Scotland website.

    Your writers today were James Delaney and Craig Williams. The page was edited by Claire Diamond.

  2. FMQs headlinespublished at 13:18 13 June

    That’s all from a surprisingly feisty chamber this week.

    Here are the key moments:

    • The leaders of Scotland's main parties issued support for the Scotland men's football team, who kick off the European Championships against Germany tonight.
    • Douglas Ross challenged John Swinney on NHS waiting times. He highlighted the case of a woman's 93-year-old mother, who was forced to wait eight hours to be admitted to hospital for treatment.
    • Swinney said there was a "focused effort" to ending issues such as delayed discharge, which are blocking access to care.
    • Ross said the NHS was in a "crisis at every level".
    • Anas Sarwar said the number of people paying for private care due to NHS waiting times was soaring, accusing the government of having its "head in the sand".
    • Swinney said he "regrets" people feeling the need to seek private treatment, but accused Labour of being on "thin ground," saying the UK party was moving towards a privatised system.
    • Lorna Slater said the government should not conclude that new oil and gas licenses should be issued.
    • Swinney said he would have "no truck" with the prime minister's decision to let 100 oil and gas licences go ahead "without a question being asked".
    • The first minister was asked about an increase in drug deaths, with Swinney admitting "new threats" from synthetic substances were entering the Scottish drug market.
    • Swinney said he was "deeply disturbed" that sex worker assaults during the Emma Caldwell investigtion were overlooked by police.
  3. Slater: Keep oil in the groundpublished at 13:08 13 June

    Lorna SlaterImage source, Scottish Parliament

    The Scottish Greens' Lorna Slater asks the first minister how he thinks his "climate compatibility" assessments will conclude it is okay for Scotland to allow further drilling for oil and gas when international experts say it is not.

    Swinney says the Scottish government has long said such assessments had to be made in order to have affordable energy supplies.

    He says he will therefore have "no truck" with the prime minister's decision to let 100 oil and gas licences go ahead "without a question being asked".

    Slater says the evidence does not change on a case by case basis.

    She says it is the same as a smoker treating each cigarette on a "case for case basis".

    She asks when the FM will "get off the fence" and make sure the oil stays in the ground.

    Swinney says he will look at any evidence and points to his government's investment in the green sector.

  4. Labour call Swinney the 'architect of austerity'published at 13:01 13 June

    Pam Duncan-GlancyImage source, Scottish Parliament

    Another back and forth erupts between Swinney and Sarwar - following a question from backbench Labour MSP Pam Duncan-Glancy about cuts to teacher numbers in Glasgow.

    Staff have voted to strike over plans to axe 450 jobs.

    Duncan-Glancy describes Swinney as the “architect of austerity” and asks if the first minister will step in to save the roles.

    The first minister says the budget proposed in Glasgow by Labour would have led to further job losses in education.

    He goes back to the argument of tax increases for higher earners and Labour’s opposition to them and takes the opportunity to have a go at Sarwar for “muttering and shouting” during his answers.

  5. Scotland is open for business, says Swinneypublished at 12:54 13 June

    The SNP's Jackie Dunbar asks the Scottish government to respond to a recent report which said the UK's economy was stagnating.

    The Resolution Foundation's report said that the economy did not grow in April.

    FM John Swinney says the report shows that the UK has experienced a "decade of economic stagnation and low productivity growth."

    "A hard Brexit that Scotland voted to reject has damaged our economy, Scotland is open for business, trade and investment," Swinney says.

    Swinney then says independence is the only solution for Scotland.

    Dunbar then asks about the impact of migration on Scottish economy, to which Swinney replies that the UK is putting itself at a "formidable competitive disadvantage by taking such a hostile attitude towards migration."

  6. Swinney 'troubled' by sex assault reportspublished at 12:50 13 June

    John SwinneyImage source, Scottish Parliament

    Swinney says he was deeply troubled by claims that sexual assaults reported to police by sex workers were not followed up.

    "Any violence against women whenever that has occurred is abhorrent" he says.

    He adds that it would not be appropriate for him to comment on any prosecutions or investigations but he noted that Police Scotland launched a programme in 2018 to investigate historic sexual offences.

    "I want all victims to have the conifence to report sexual crimes no matter when they happened, therefore I'm pleased that Police Scotland has encouraged anyone who has not previously reported such assaults to come forward and to do so," he says.

    McNeill asks whether Swinney agrees that it was a "shameful period" during the Emma Caldwell investigation when sex worker attacks were not taken seriously.

    Swinney accepts there is a necessity to take any reporting of such crimes seriously.

  7. Reports of rape and sexual assault not followed up by policepublished at 12:47 13 June

    Emma CaldwellImage source, Police Scotland
    Image caption,

    Emma Caldwell was killed by Iain Packer in 2005 while working as a sex worker in Glasgow

    Scottish Labour's Pauline McNeill asks the first minister what the Scottish government's response is to reports that hundreds of rapes and sexual assaults that had been reported by sex workers were not acted upon.

    She is referring to comments by former detective sergeant Willie Mason said some women reported up to five attacks in one night.

    But about 300 attacks, ranging from a “slap in the face” to rapes, were never followed up on by officers and were instead boxed and marked as “irrelevant”, he said.

    Ms McNeill refers to the investigation into the death of Emma Caldwell in 2005, which Willie Mason worked on.

    She had been a sex worker in Glasgow in order to fund a heroin addiction.

    In February, Iain Packer was convicted of her murder alongside multiple serious sexual offences.

    It was during the inquiry into Emma Caldwell's murder that the reports Willie Mason is referring to were made to the police.

  8. SNP 'failing' to tackle drug deathspublished at 12:46 13 June

    Sue WebberImage source, Scottish Parliament

    Webber says that deaths are not reducing and asks why successive SNP leaders have “failed” to tackle drug deaths across the country with an approach that is not working.

    She asks if Swinney will accept the move to change tact and back the Conservatives' right to recovery bill.

    The first minister says he will meet with Douglas Ross to discuss the bill and says he is open to “any elements” of it that will help to reduce deaths.

    He says there are “additional threats” coming from synthetic opioids entering the Scottish drug market.

    Swinney says that the government is willing to work with other parties to find the interventions that will allow them to reduce drug deaths.

    He says he is open to a “wide cross-party” discussion on the issue.

  9. Swinney responds to drug deaths questionpublished at 12:40 13 June

    Responding to the question about what the government is doing to prevent drug deaths in Scotland, Swinney says the government is delivering a £250m national mission to reduce drug deaths.

    He describes the figures released this week as “disappointing” and says the emergence of new substances raises “further concerns”.

    But he insists the government will do “all that they can” to reduce the number of people dying.

  10. What is the government doing about drug deaths?published at 12:38 13 June

    A needle and drugsImage source, Getty Images
    Image caption,

    Drug-related deaths in Scotland rose again in the first three months of the year

    Next, the first minister is asked a question by the Conservative MSP Sue Webber.

    She asks: "What progress the Scottish government has made in reducing drug-related harm, in light of the latest quarterly statistics showing a 17% increase in suspected drug deaths?"

    It comes as suspected drug deaths in Scotland rose again in the first three months of the year, according to figures released on Wednesday.

    Scottish government data revealed 320 deaths thought to be drug-related between January and March 2024, an increase of 23 on last year.

    It brings the total number of fatalities involving drugs to 1,219 in the year from March 2023 – March 2024, based on Police Scotland reports.

    The issue has long been a point of criticism of the SNP.

    Drug deaths were declared a public health emergency by Nicola Sturgeon back in 2019.

    The UK’s first official consumption room for illegal substances was approved for Glasgow - which remained the most prominent location for drug-related deaths - last year, but is yet to open.

  11. Presiding officer steps inpublished at 12:37 13 June

    Alison JohnstoneImage source, Scottish Parliament

    Swinney says Sarwar has “not a scrap of credibility” in telling him there will be no return to austerity under a Labour government.

    That earns him an ovation from the SNP benches.

    Presiding officer Alison Johnstone is less than impressed though, decrying the length of time the session has taken.

    She urges members to limit the length or their questions and answers after the exchange.

  12. Fiery exchange over cancer carepublished at 12:35 13 June

    Anas SarwarImage source, Scottish Parliament

    Swinney says Sarwar has been “caught out” and contradicted by his “bosses in London”.

    The Scottish Labour leader describes Swinney’s response as “frankly embarrassing” and quotes from the UK Labour manifesto, which states the NHS “will always be publicly owned and publicly funded”.

    He says Swinney failed to answer the question on how much patients had to pay or borrow for private care, and says the total amount for private operations in Scotland was £83m.

    Sarwar accuses the SNP of “mismanaging” the NHS and says some people are being forced to go private for cancer treatment.

    He asks why the first minister believes people should have to pay for their own cancer care.

    Swinney says he does not want anyone paying for this in Scotland, but “has to face up to the realities” facing the NHS.

    He says the rate of people self-funding for private care in England is 66% higher than it is in Scotland, and 13% higher in Labour-run Wales.

    In England, the health service is run by the UK government.

    In Scotland and Wales, the health service is run by respective devolved governments.

  13. Swinney and Sarwar clash over NHS privatisationpublished at 12:33 13 June

    John SwinneyImage source, Scottish Parliament

    Sarwar accuses Swinney of having his “head in the sand” over the growing number of people forced to use private health care due to being unable to access the NHS fast enough.

    He says more than 1,500 people were forced to pay for knee replacements last year, 8,000 paid for cataract operations and almost 3,000 hip replacements took place in private setting - due to a lack of NHS availability.

    Sarwar asks how much people have had to dig into their own savings to pay for private treatment.

    The first minister says he “regrets” that people have had to seek private treatments.

    He says the NHS is struggling to cope with demand.

    Swinney attributes this to cancelled procedures during the Covid pandemic.

    Sarwar is on “thin ground” in challenging him on private involvement in the health service, the first minister says - pointing to comments from UK Labour’s shadow health secretary Wes Streeting, who was quoted as saying the party would “hold the door wide open for the private sector in the health service”.

  14. 'Root and branch' dental reform is underway, Swinney sayspublished at 12:30 13 June

    Anas SarwarImage source, Scottish Parliament

    Anas Sarwar is up next and begins his question to the first minister by echoing the message of support to Steve Clarke’s side by his political opponents.

    The Scottish Labour leader talks about his past as an NHS dentist.

    He cites one practice in Fife that cannot cope with taking on any further patients.

    The Labour leader says the number of people forced to pay for private health care has risen by 86% since 2019, the highest ever levels.

    He asks why the health service should not be free at the point of need under the SNP.

    Swinney says the investment his government has made in the NHS and dentistry means Scotland has more dentists per 100 people than England.

    He says a “root and branch reform” of dental payment systems is in its early days of implementation.

  15. Ross: Crisis 'at every single level' in NHSpublished at 12:30 13 June

    Ross points to GP closures across Scotland, especially in rural areas,

    "We already know what will be line one of the SNP's manifesto. So just how far down John Swinney's list of priorities will Scotland's NHS be?" he asks.

    Swinney says it is top of his priorities and that is why Scotland has the best accccident and emergency service in the UK.

    Scotland would be in a "stronger position if we had the powers of independence" he adds.

  16. Swinney: "I take responsibility"published at 12:26 13 June

    John SwinneyImage source, Scottish Parliament

    Going back to the BBC election debate again, Ross quotes an audience member calling on Mr Swinney to "take responsibility" after 17 years of SNP government at Holyrood.

    Ross cites Freedom of Information statistics showing more than 100 people aged over 100 have had waits of more than 12 hours in hospitals.

    Swinney says he takes responsibility for his government's actions and repeats that hospitals are congested through delayed discharge and says he is working with social care services to reduce this.

    "Mr Ross would be in a stronger position to argue for this if he hadn't argued for me to follow the budget of Liz Truss" he says.

    "If I had done that, that would have been catastrophic for the country, catastrophic for the health service and I'm really glad I didn't do it".

  17. Ross: Is our NHS broken?published at 12:18 13 June

    Douglas RossImage source, Scottish Parliament

    Ross says many people are concerned for their parents and grandparents. He says there are problems with GP provision, access to ambulances and urgent care.

    "All they seem to get from John Swinney and the SNP are excuses. Don't they deserve to hear the solutions?" he asks.

    Swinney says he has set out the solutions and taken the "hard decisions" to increase the resources available to the NHS through increasing tax on higher earners.

    "What we cannot have as an outcome to this election is a continuation of the austerity of the Conservative goverment because that would be disastrous for the National Health Service" he says.

  18. Swinney: Focused effort on delivering NHS treatmentpublished at 12:14 13 June

    The FM continues his response to Douglas Ross' question about the NHS.

    Swinney says says he apologised to Ms McClintock.

    The NHS is experiencing challenges with delayed discharge and high occupancy, Swinney adds.

    He says: “I acknowledge not everybody is getting the treatment that they require as quickly as they require it, but there is a very focused effort being undertaken within the government and within our health boards to make sure that can be delivered in all localities in Scotland.”

  19. Great to see Scotland back in Europe, Swinney jokespublished at 12:08 13 June

    John SwinneyImage source, Scottish Parliament

    The FM begins his address to the chamber by wishing the Scotland team luck too.

    He jokes that it's great to see Scotland back in Europe.

    Swinney goes on to address Ross' point about the NHS.

  20. Douglas Ross asks FM first questionpublished at 12:02 13 June

    Douglas RossImage source, Scottish Parliament

    Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross asks John Swinney his first question.

    Ross begins by wishing the Scotland men's football team good luck in the Euros tonight.

    He goes on to ask about NHS waiting times, referring back to an audience member's question during the BBC Scotland leaders' debate on Tuesday night.

    This voter, named Anna, recounted how last week her 93-year-old mother waited six hours for an ambulance and a further two hours outside the hospital before being admitted.

    She asked if Scotland's NHS was "broken beyond repair?"

    Mr Ross continues: “John Swinney didn’t have answers for Anna on Tuesday so what does he say to her now?” he asks.

    • You can catch up on the BBC debate here.