Anas Sarwar warned John Swinney of hospital morgues filling up amid a "deepening" crisis in Scotland NHS.

The Scottish Labour leader raised the mounting pressures facing the health service with Mr Swinney at First Minister's Questions in Holyrood this afternoon.

He said "the crisis in our NHS is deepening" after the SNP had been in power for 17 years and pointed out some 820,000 Scots are currently on an NHS waiting list with many patients suffering pain and using their savings and borrowing money to pay for private treatment. 

“People can’t get GP appointments and thousands have waited more than four hours in A&E for treatment since the start of the year," he said.

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“And now because of this Government’s financial mismanagement, NHS and social care services face a black hole this year of up to £1.4 billion."

He added: "In just the past few weeks: Inverclyde’s Out of Hours GP service has been permanently reduced, with patients now facing a 50-mile round trip to access overnight appointments.

“In the City of Glasgow, over 150 jobs have been lost in health and social care services. In North Ayrshire, care home places have been reduced and charges for vulnerable people have increased. 

“And in Edinburgh, unions have warned that social care cuts will mean, in their words, “Thousands of hours of support will be cut; hospitals, care homes, prison cells and morgues will fill up as a consequence.

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“Our NHS is weaker than ever, staff are under unbearable pressure and patients are being asked to accept the unacceptable all because of the decisions this Government has made."

He said as Deputy First Minister and Finance Secretary Mr Swinney cut hundreds of millions of pounds from health and social care budgets.

“It’s no wonder that people across Scotland are asking how can the man who created the mess in our NHS be the one to fix it?," said Mr Sarwar.

He argued that the First Minister must not “pass the buck” on the challenges facing the health service and accused Mr Swinney of using a “get out of jail free card” by blaming the UK Government instead of accepting responsibility.

He said Inverclyde patients face a 50-mile round trip for overnight appointments after the region’s out-of-hour GP services closed, while tens of millions had been cut from social care, primary care and mental health services.“

Mr Swinney said his government was committed to supporting the NHS and he denied dodging responsibility.

He said: “I will never evade the responsibility for my actions as a minister – never. It’s not in my character to do so.

“But I will be straight with Parliament and the public in Scotland.”

He said as a former finance secretary who balanced the budget on 10 occasions, he had always been “straight” with the public on the financial challenges facing the country.

“That has involved taking difficult decisions to protect our public services that’s resulted in the NHS being the best funded service in our public services,” he added.

“We’ve also had to take some pretty tough decisions, for which I take responsibility, such as increasing tax on higher earners.”