Alex Neil must resign as more revelations emerge

Scottish Labour has repeated calls for Health Secretary Alex Neil to resign as more details emerged of his meddling and deceit.

It was revealed yesterday that Health Secretary Alex Neil reversed a decision by his predecessor Nicola Sturgeon to shake-up mental health services in his constituency despite warnings by NHS bosses that it would result in ‘a less than optimal service’ for patients.

Further emails today reveal:

  • Pressure from Alex Neil forced NHS bosses to delay taking a decision on mental health service until after the local authority elections earlier that year, and then again in August because he was on holiday.
  • The most senior official at NHS Lanarkshire insisted there was ‘no alternative option’ to the proposed changes on the same morning that Alex Neil overruled him, and insisted ‘service users and carers are fully supportive of the proposed developments’.


Scottish Labour has also written to Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to ask if she agreed with the decision to reverse her proposals and what she thought was in the best interests of patients.

Neil Findlay, Scottish Labour’s health spokesman, said: “The explanation offered by Alex Neil and his boss Alex Salmond was completely unsatisfactory and these new revelations put more pressure on the Health Secretary.

“It was clear from the medical advice that these proposals were in the interests of patients but because it did not suit him politically he forced NHS bosses to put back a decision until after the local authority elections.

“The fact that the chief executive of NHS Lanarkshire was still 100 per cent behind the changes and cited the support from ‘service users and carers’ as one of the key reasons right up until Alex Neil overruled him shows what a mess Alex Neil has made of this.

“Alex Neil has put his own political interests before patients and then deceived the Scottish Parliament to cover it up. He is not fit for office and should be sacked if he does not have the decency to resign.”

16 May 2014