A Healthy Society, Not Just One That Picks Up the Pieces
Greens believe in a fully inclusive health service, with no barriers set by low income, prejudice or disability. We believe it is fundamental that Scotland has a National Health Service which is free at the point of use. The NHS currently is under greater threat than ever, as the UK Government's attempts to privatise the NHS in England are showing. We'll oppose that market-driven agenda and we believe that most Scots oppose it too.
And whilst there have been some important steps towards health improvement in Scotland, Greens recognise that there is no room for complacency on preventive health, health promotion and public health. Policies on everything from education and housing, to transport and agriculture can all influence our health. Greens offer a unique blend of healthy policies across all of these areas, because we are the only political party to make those important links between the economy, society and the environment.
A free and locally based public health service
The Scottish Green Party recognises that we must provide health services that are close to our communities and have a caring ethos at their core. Serial reorganisation of the NHS can end up doing more harm than good, both to the cost of running services and to staff morale.
We'll commit to keeping the NHS in public hands. But more than that, we'll ensure our local health services are protected against the current trends of centralisation.
We'll place an emphasis on primary and community care, provided as locally as possible. A well-organised local health service, based on smaller hospitals and services, also provides sustainable local jobs and training. This localised structure of health care would provide better support for paid and unpaid carers.
We'll support local cottage and community hospitals, which provide high quality services with a personal touch, support the wellbeing of a whole community and benefit local health economies by taking pressure off the larger acute hospitals.
We'll also address the current lack of ongoing support for patients with long-term illnesses and conditions, who need information, practical and emotional support and benefits advice as well as day care and specialist care.
Greens see benefits in the integration of health and social care services, but as with other proposals to reform public services, we'll only support change if it benefits the quality of the service. We'll consult on a range of options for delivering integrated health and social care services, with an emphasis on the need to maintain quality, and to protect staff terms and conditions.
We'll provide funding for day-care services for older people at the overlap of health and social care, which will become ever more important given the increasing number of older people in our society.
We'll close the gaps in the provision of advocacy services, which need proper funding so that every vulnerable person in Scotland can have their need for an independent advocate met.
We'll improve the quality of food provided in hospitals and care settings, based on the 'Food for Life' targets on fresh, local and organic food where possible. The standard of hospital food must be improved, for nutritious, healthy food is vital to restoring any patient to full health. We’ll encourage further democracy within the structure of our health services, and involve members of the public and communities as much as possible.
Improving Scotland's health
Prevention is central to the improvements Greens would make to Scotland's health, especially given the continuing shift from acute to chronic conditions. Whether it is dealing with childhood obesity or Scotland's relationship with alcohol, Greens believe we must tackle these issues early before they become even greater problems in the future.
We'll review Health Visitor services, with the aim of ensuring adequate routine child health checks and general levels of contact between families and health visitors. If vulnerable children are not identified, they can miss out on interventions in early years.
We'll take action to prevent obesity by increasing awareness of the problem, promoting health in schools, and ensuring affordable access to physical fitness and recreation, as well as provision for active travel.
We'll develop a national tobacco control strategy, aimed at preventing young people taking up the habit, supporting people to quit smoking, and reducing the exposure of babies, children and young people to cigarette smoke.
We'll continue to support a minimum pricing alcohol policy, which must go beyond the UK Government's "duty + VAT" approach. In addition to this, we'll develop a comprehensive strategic approach to tackling the harm caused by alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
The structure of the alcohol industry has changed for the worse over recent decades, with ever greater control in the hands of big businesses which have no connection to the communities they operate in.
Politicians have talked about changing Scotland's alcohol culture, but have supported economic policies that allowed this to happen. We'll shift support to independent pubs and retailers, small local producers which make a profit from quality instead of volume, and the positive celebration of a healthier approach to alcohol.
We'll move responsibility for Scottish Government policy on drugs to the Communities Department, as a means of bridging the gap between the health-led and justice-led approaches. While Scotland cannot amend the Misuse of Drugs Act as we would wish, we do have the chance to ensure that the individual and social harm of drugs use is minimised.
We are committed to improving breastfeeding rates, and providing the support for women when they want it to help them breastfeed.
We'll review the Sexual Health Strategy, and commit to developing high quality sexual health services and appropriate sex education.
We'll introduce health impact assessments into the planning system, and ensure that health is taken into account in all other Government policies. Policies which help tackle climate change in particular, like support for active travel, offer opportunities for a healthier society.
Please see pages 20-21 of the Scottish Green Party manifesto for this policy.
Please see this SCREEN GRAB of the previous version of this policy from the party website.
Retrieved on 05/05/11 (12:10am) from: 2011 Party Manifesto