Civil servants at Scottish Government quango to get taxpayer-funded access to ‘wellbeing’ therapies including Indian head massages and aromatherapy – and they can ask for cash handouts to go private and skip NHS queues

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  • Public officials working for Scottish Enterprise to get cash for ‘holistic’ treatment

Civil servants will have access to Indian head massages, aromatherapy and reflexology as part of a taxpayer-funded luxury health programme.

Public officials working for the Scottish Government’s business quango Scottish Enterprise are to receive cash towards ‘holistic’ treatments as part of a health benefits package.

That is despite none of the ‘wellbeing’ therapies – which include essential oil relaxation – being freely available to the public on the NHS.

Quango bosses yesterday confirmed civil servants can also ask for cash handouts to go towards private appointments for mental and physical ill health – allowing them to skip NHS queues.

Last night critics slammed the huge amount of public money being put towards private healthcare.

Civil servants will have access to Indian head massages, aromatherapy and reflexology as part of a taxpayer-funded luxury health programme (File image)

Civil servants will have access to Indian head massages, aromatherapy and reflexology as part of a taxpayer-funded luxury health programme (File image)

Scottish Conservative business spokesman Murdo Fraser said: ‘Businesses grappling with rising bills will be seriously questioning if this is a good use of resources right now by Scottish Enterprise.

‘Budgets at this government agency have already been squeezed by SNP Ministers in recent years, so they must explain where this money has been found from.’

According to a public contract uploaded to a Holyrood portal, Scottish Enterprise, which is responsible for investing in businesses, is spending up to £426,712 on the ‘health cash plan’ for its 1,100 UK-based employees.

As well as providing cash towards private healthcare for employees – often afforded to professionals working in the private sector – there will be the option to take up alternative therapies, including aromatherapy, Indian head massage and reflexology. Chiropody is also in the package.

News of the holistic interventions comes as a former SNP Minister last week called for Scotland’s civil service to be slimmed down amid claims it did not deliver value to the taxpayer. 

Ivan McKee said the First Minister should be getting better value from the £740 million the Government spent on its 8,500 civil servants last year.

That is despite none of the 'wellbeing' therapies - which include essential oil relaxation ¿ being freely available to the public on the NHS (File image)

That is despite none of the ‘wellbeing’ therapies – which include essential oil relaxation – being freely available to the public on the NHS (File image)

Meanwhile, officials have found themselves at the centre of allegations of ‘extravagant’ spending on government credit cards, including to buy nail polish and paper aeroplanes. 

It emerged purchases totalling more than £14 million had been racked up on taxpayer-funded credit cards, prompting an investigation by top civil servants.

Cash was splurged on trips to the zoo as well as crazy golf and laser tag outings, along with items such as expensive wellies and a cordless hedge trimmer. 

Scottish Enterprise has previously expressed concerns about its financial health, with ex-boss Steve Dunlop making a number of cuts in March 2020.

A Scottish Enterprise spokesman said: ‘Scottish Enterprise does not offer private healthcare. We have a not-for-profit scheme in place to encourage staff to look after their health by offering partial reimbursement for certain healthcare costs. 

‘The cost of this benefit is less than £1.90 per week per employee and it helps reduce the time staff have to wait for health-related appointments.’

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