Page last updated at 13:40 GMT, Thursday, 22 March 2012

Scottish Parliament

Alex Salmond was challenged to meet two patients who Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont claimed were left without blankets to keep them warm while in hospital, during first ministers questions on 22 March 2012.

Ms Lamont said 92-year-old Helen McBeth was "frozen" in the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley when "embarrassed" staff could not give her a blanket.

She also said Jack Barr spent three nights in the same hospital "with only his beach towel to keep him warm".

The first minister told her that Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon was "prepared to look into any case in the National Health Service where care does not meet the standards we expect".

Mr Salmond also defended his SNP administration's record on health calling on on MSPs to "look at the record of public satisfaction" with the NHS in Scotland.

The first minister said: "We've been protecting the National Health Service against the most ferocious cuts for many generations.

"That's why we stand proudly on our record on Scotland's National Health Service."

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson also attacked the first minister over health issues, saying the Scottish government figure for funding free prescriptions would be £130m by the end of the month.

Ms Davidson said the measure had been introduced to "buy votes at the last election" and said there was no money for a cancer drug fund and less money for nurses on the front line.

The first minister said the government had reacted to evidence from pharmacists where patients had had to choose between medicines before the introduction of free prescriptions and contrasted the benefits of the move with the UK budget which he said would "punish the pensioners and keep the rich happier".

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