The deputy prime minister has rejected suggestions that the NHS is under threat of privatisation amid concerns both Labour and the Tories could overhaul how health services are funded.

On the 75th anniversary on the launch of the NHS, the SNP has raised fears that the health service could be taken out of public hands, as SNP deputy Westminster leader Mhairi Black pressed deputy prime minister Oliver Dowden on the issue.

Ms Black, who yesterday announced she is standing down as an MP at the next general election, questioned the stance of Labour and the Conservatives over the role of the private sector in the NHS.

She said: “As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the health services in the UK, I want to reflect on two quotes from two people. The first one is ‘it’s about using the private sector more, something we should be very comfortable with’.

Read more: Mhairi Black to stand down as an MP at the next election

"The second quote is ‘people go as NHS patients to the private sector and we could do more of it’.

“Can I ask the Deputy Prime Minister which quote is from the PM and which is from the Leader of the Opposition?”

In response, Mr Dowden said “how sorry he was to hear that (she) will be standing down at the next election”. 

He added: “She and I joined this house at the same time and I know she has contributed much to her party and to this place.”

“When it comes to the NHS, I will take absolutely no lectures from either party on it. It has been there for me.

“I was born in an NHS hospital, my children were born in an NHS hospital. It’s been there for me and my family and this Government has put record funding into it.”

Ms Black, pointing to Mr Dowden’s “kind words” over her upcoming departure from the Commons, told him that as well as joining Westminster at the same time, “I’m pretty sure we’ll be leaving at the same time”, sending MPs on all sides into laughter.

Read more: Calderwood: Scotland Covid response was 'late and slow'

Ms Black said: “The number one problem that faces the health across these isles is workforce.

“Research shows that Brexit has worsened the UK shortage of doctors, European nurses registering to work in the UK fell by 90% after the Brexit referendum.

“What more will it take for both him and the Labour Party to admit the damage that Brexit is causing our health services?”

In response, Mr Downden pointed to “an additional £2.4 billion for our groundbreaking NHS workforce plan”, that was announced by the UK Government this week.

He added: “That is the first time in the NHS’s history that that has happened.

"And if you look at the record since this party came to power, almost 40,000 more doctors and more than 50,000 more nurses - once again, the Conservative Party delivering for the NHS.”

The SNP has also called on Labour to rule out privatising the NHS after the party's former prime minister, Tony Blair, called for Westminster to expand the role of the private sector in the health service - and direct NHS patients to paid-for private healthcare provision.

Read more: Michael Matheson leads praise for NHS on 75th anniversary

The Institute for Public Policy Research has today warned increased use of private healthcare risks creating “a two-tier system, where healthcare quality, and therefore life chances, depend on what you can afford”.

Former Tory health secretary, Sajid Javid, has called for a review of the NHS, describing the current model as "unsustainable".

SNP health spokesperson Martyn Day said: "These comments from Tony Blair, demanding an expanded role for the private sector in the NHS, will set alarm bells ringing in Scotland.

"While healthcare is devolved, Scotland is not immune from the impact of damaging financial decisions being imposed by Westminster.

“Brexit, Tory cuts, and the creeping privatisation, fragmentation and underfunding of the NHS in England has harmed all four national health services in the UK.

"Keir Starmer, and the other Blairites running the pro-Brexit Labour Party, must rule out further privatisation and underfunding of the NHS - and finally admit the damage Brexit is inflicting on NHS staffing and services.”

The UK Labour leader has insisted that if he becomes prime minister his “government will make the NHS fit for the future”.

Writing in the Mirror, Sir Keir added: “Embracing new technologies, focusing on preventing illnesses in the first place rather than simply treating them, ensuring we have far more care in the community – these are the building blocks of that better, future-proofed health service.”