Scots are being encouraged to share their views on the future of the country's health service.

Independent think tank Reform Scotland is launching a public forum - NHS 48 - that aims to stimulate 'non-politicised' discussion and debate.

Paul Gray, who was Chief Executive of NHS Scotland from 2013 to 2019, said it was essential that polarising views were heard and explored and the consultation was not about "proving that everyone else was wrong and I was right".

He said it was unrealistic to expect a return to "the halcyon days of 1948" but said changes were needed now.

He said: "If we are all paying for the NHS, should we care about it?

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"I suggest that we should, and that most do. And if we care about it, should we be willing to talk about it?

"If we seriously want to have viable health and care services in 2048, we need to talk soon and act quickly. And we need to avoid using the discussion to prove that everyone else was wrong and I was right.

"If I think that we should have more involvement of the private sector in the NHS, will I call people who believe it should be entirely in public ownership naïve?

"The more that we can discuss difficult issues openly and respectfully, and draw on evidence and analysis rather than opinion and oratorical skill, the more likely we are to do good.

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"And who knows, we might surprise ourselves by hearing a different perspective, and seeing things in a light we had not recognised hitherto."

Dr Iain Kennedy, chairman of BMA Scotland said a "grown-up, de-politicised discussion" about the future of Scotland’s NHS was long overdue.

He said: "What we expect it to deliver under its current limitations and what we can do to secure its future – and, crucially, ensure it remains true to its core value of being free at the point of delivery.

"Right now, we are lurching from winter crisis to winter crisis and things will not get better without action.

"If we are to reach the centenary of our NHS, the Scottish government must come good on its commitment for a national conversation – for the sake of the workforce and our patients.”

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