Page last updated at 13:18 GMT, Thursday, 10 January 2013

Salmond defends Sturgeon's NHS record

Alex Salmond defended the record of former health secretary Nicola Sturgeon on the NHS, under attack from Labour, during first minister's questions on 10 January 2013.

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont said that the real terms cut in NHS funding and the waiting times scandal highlighted a service under "phenomenal pressure" and that denial of that was a "denial of his responsibility as the first minister of this country".

Ms Lamont said Auditor General Caroline Gardner had put the health service on amber warning on 7 November 2012 and there were fewer nurses now than when the SNP came to power.

She said Ms Sturgeon had left the health service in a "mess" and asked the first minister whether the auditor general had been wrong.

Mr Salmond hit back saying it was Johann Lamont, not the auditor general, who was wrong and that many voices across the chamber had praised the work of Ms Sturgeon on the NHS when she moved from the health brief

He said there were more staff in the health service now than when the SNP took office and patient satisfaction at 88% was also at a higher level.

The first minister said the government had delivered on its pledge to protect the NHS budget with a record £11.6bn funding for 2014-15, adding that Labour had failed to give such a commitment prior to the last Holyrood election.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson questioned the first minister on community pay back orders, saying offenders were being credited for work they never do and many were never completed.

Ms Davidson said "communities are being conned and not paid back".

The first minister said "good progress" was being made on community pay back orders and highlighted that crime was at its lowest level in Scotland for 37 years, indicating his party was delivering on criminal justice in "sharp contrast" to the Conservatives at Westminster.

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