A “doom loop” is impacting upon the NHS, a former public spending watchdog said, claiming that the health service is now left “mopping up” as a result of the failure to invest cash in services such as housing.

Caroline Gardner, who was the auditor general for Scotland from 2010 to 2020, also said that the “failure of social care” was impacting on health services.

Speaking at a fringe event at the Scottish Labour conference in Glasgow, Ms Gardner stressed the need to invest in public services.

“I think we are caught in a doom loop where the health service is mopping up the damage that is caused by the failure to invest in housing and active travel and supporting communities.”

She told the event, organised by the Royal Society of Edinburgh: “We don’t improve health just by spending on the health service.

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