Protecting the NHS
Scottish Labour will support the NHS in the face of unprecedented financial pressures,
protecting the NHS budget in Scotland and passing on all Barnett consequentials for health. We will prioritise the protection of NHS jobs, ensuring that there are no compulsory redundancies for staff within the NHS partnership model. We reject the UK government proposals to introduce market values to the NHS and will ensure that in Scotland the NHS remains a public service, publicly delivered.
Whilst protecting NHS spending, we cannot allow a single penny to be spent without achieving maximum efficiency. Our commitment to driving down costs will focus on the elimination of waste, so that we can protect jobs and patient care on the frontline. We will review all NHS bonus schemes, performance-related pay, merit and distinction awards and reduce the number of health boards, immediately cutting the number of special health
boards as a first step. We will also look to merge IT systems and drive better asset management, such as the sale of unused land. We believe there are further efficiencies to be made in the prescribing of medicines, including the use of generic medicines and streamlining the system for repeat prescriptions. Every pound of efficiency savings generated by the NHS will stay in the NHS.
The challenges of a fast-paced 21st century Scotland require a modern, dynamic health service that does not shy away from change. Scottish Labour is committed to shifting the focus of the NHS in Scotland, from being a reactive service for ill health, towards being a local, proactive, patient-centred service for health and well-being.
Too many people enter the healthcare system or are admitted to hospital for medical treatment when we know that the right support, at the right time, would have prevented ill health and enabled them to remain in their own home. Whilst retaining our commitment to free personal care, Scottish Labour will deliver a new National Care Service to provide the right care in the right setting. Not only will this be a first step towards ending the postcode
lottery in care, but it will also tackle delayed discharge, which is costing the NHS millions. We will restore dignity in care and end 15 minute home care visits.
We are determined to find new ways of providing health services that are as local as possible and, as a start, will maintain A&E services at Monklands and Ayr hospitals. We will support the use of community hospitals and take steps to ensure that patients have access to
treatment as close to their homes as is safely possible. We also believe that, even in a difficult economic climate, it should be possible for people at the end of their lives to be cared for and die in the place of their choice.
We will evaluate the current pilots of public participation and direct elections to health
boards, to ensure greater democratic accountability for the health service. Scottish Labour will review and reform Community Health and Care Partnerships, to ensure that they are better placed to act as a democratic delivery model for the new National Care Service and to better involve local authorities, patient groups and voluntary organisations. We will ensure
that the NHS has the right mix of skills, including specialist nurses for conditions such as cancer or epilepsy, and a range of allied health professionals, such as physiotherapists, occupational, speech and language therapists.
We will revise health and social care procurement procedures, ending e-auctions for social care contracts and introducing quality standards.
Scottish Labour will review the health service's resilience to winter weather conditions, with a particular focus on capacity in rural areas. We will ensure that the needs of vulnerable people are met, for example, through a national helpline when bad weather strikes.
Better, cleaner hospitals
Patients and their families have a right to know that when they go into hospital, they
will be treated in safe conditions. Scottish Labour's priority will be to eliminate superbugs in the NHS and we will work towards implementing a refreshed 15-point plan, drawn-up with two of the UK's leading health experts, Professors Hugh Pennington and Brian Toft.
Scottish Labour will also support research into the causes and treatments of healthcare associated infections, such as C.Diff and MRSA, and will establish a properly resourced reference laboratory to ensure we look ahead to proactively identify and quickly deal with new infections. We further believe that individual rooms should be prioritised during the building of new hospitals, to aid infection control.
We believe that there is a serious gap in care for children and adult sufferers of chronic pain in Scotland and it is wrong to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds sending Scottish patients on journeys of hundreds of miles to seek treatment in England. Scottish Labour will seek to deliver increased action and awareness of chronic pain in primary care and throughout the NHS, look to enhance managed clinical networks for chronic pain and provide the option of residential treatment for sufferers, based on the model of Bronllys
in Wales. For those suffering from long-term conditions, we will also retain the Self Management Fund for patients beyond 2011.
A focus on fairness
Scottish Labour's founding vision for the NHS was to establish a service that provides universal care of the highest standards. This principle remains as important today as it was 60 years ago. It is unacceptable that health inequality is still so strongly linked to income levels,
poverty and deprivation and that quality of provision varies from one part of Scotland
to another. Scottish Labour will work to end the postcode lottery in healthcare, ensuring
that our services provide equal treatment, free at the point of need, in every part of Scotland. We will, for example, consider measures to help equalise access to IVF services and expand the provision of insulin pumps for young people.
To ensure equitable access to hospitals, Scottish Labour will seek to complete the
abolition of hospital parking charges by investigating if this can also be achieved in PPP-owned and managed car park. With Scottish Labour, there will be no reintroduction of charges for prescriptions in Scotland.
We will continue to invest in NHS dentistry in Scotland and pursue the aspirations for
improving patient access and reducing oral health inequalities set out in Labour's Dental Action Plan. We will also maintain free eye and dental checks for patients.
We will ensure fairness for Scotland's veterans and will continue to develop a programme for their health support, including support for those who have been deployed by the Territorial Army.
Tackling waiting times
Despite real progress, cancer still blights the lives of too many Scottish families. Scottish Labour will introduce a new right to see a cancer specialist and get results within two weeks by 2015, halving the current waiting time of one month, where clinically appropriate. We will also pledge support for the programme of financial advice projects for patients at the five main cancer centres across Scotland.
Please see pages 38-41 of the Scottish Labour Party manifesto for this policy.
Please see this SCREEN GRAB of the previous version of this policy from the party website.
Retrieved on 12/04/11 (5:24pm) from: 2011 Party Manifesto