Nicola Sturgeon said the NHS is safe with the SNP and out of Boris Johnson’s hands and she campaigned on the health service.

She highlighted the 4% pay offer in Scotland compared to 1% in England and promised record levels of investment in the NHS to help recovery after the covid pandemic.

Sturgeon, campaigning today in Eastwood, said: ““In this election I am asking the people of Scotland to help me keep our NHS safe and out of Boris Johnson’s hands.

“The SNP is backing Scotland’s essential NHS workers with a 4% pay rise against the 1% on offer from the Tories at Westminster.

“If we are re-elected the SNP will use all our experience in government to implement a full-scale remobilisation of the NHS with record levels of investment.

“And we will keep the essential services helping us through Covid, like Test and Protect, in public hands, not managed by private companies.

“The Tory threat level to Scotland’s NHS from a sleaze-ridden Westminster government is real, present and at its highest ever setting.

Labour meanwhile has been highlighting its plans for children claiming the SNP have failed in 14 years to deliver the flexible, wrap-around childcare that families need.

The party said it will deliver a year-on-year expansion of free hours available in early years, which it says will ensure every child’s early learning is supported by a professional workforce and boost the economy by creating jobs and helping parents return to work.

Anas Sarwar Scottish Labour Leader said: “A generation of young people have had their learning and lives disrupted by Covid, but even before this pandemic Scotland’s child care and education system wasn’t setting up all our children for success.

“We have a moral imperative to ensure that our next generation do not carry the weight of the pandemic - that’s why they must be the focus of the next parliament not old arguments or political games.

“Unfortunately, too many children are paying the price for the SNP taking their eye off the ball - and the Scottish Tories have failed to make a difference in opposition.”

The Conservatives have accused the SNP of “wasting time” on debating independence at Holyrood.

Douglas Ross, Scottish Conservative leader, said: “The SNP wasted more than 1400 minutes of Parliament’s time on another referendum that Scotland didn’t want.

“During that time, drug deaths soared and our schools continued to slide down international league tables. The SNP took their eye off the ball and the damage was disastrous.

“If they win a majority, they’ll squander even more time on their obsession, just when we all need to be 100% focussed on tackling the health and economic crisis.”