Almost 70,000 Scottish NHS operations have been carried out in private hospitals since the SNP came to power, figures show.
They peaked at 10,420 in 2014 and, after a steep decline in 2016, numbers rose again last year to 4,360 – up from 2,707 when the SNP came to power, according to figures reported by the Scotsman.
Since 2007, 68,175 NHS-funded operations have been carried out by the independent sector in Scotland – an average of almost 6,000 a year.
Scottish Conservatives health spokesman Miles Briggs said the figures show that the independent sector has been propping up the SNP’s health service for years.
“Even with the independent sector bailing them out, the SNP’s mismanagement of the health service is causing patients to suffer unnecessarily,” he argued.
A spokesperson for Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “This is desperate stuff from a Scottish Tory party whose tax plans would slash more than half a billion pounds from Scotland’s NHS.
“The reality is the 68,000 figure is a small fraction of the 12 million procedures carried out over the same period.”