Government must focus more on preventative health measures say Greens

The Scottish Government must give a greater focus to preventative public health measures in order to improve the National Health Service, the Scottish Greens will say today.

Speaking in an opposition debate on the NHS in Scotland 2017 report, Green MSP Alison Johnstone will say the report’s findings prove there’s a greater need for early intervention and for general practice funding to be reformed to help support GP retention.

The Audit Scotland report published last week states there’s no “no quick fix” to the “significant challenges” facing the NHS in Scotland.

Johnstone will also reiterate the Greens’ call for an above-inflation pay rise for NHS staff. Patrick Harvie revealed at First Minister’s Questions last week that one SNP MSP has declared support for the proposal.

Lothian MSP Alison Johnstone said:

“Audit Scotland's report on the NHS shows that we must prioritise early intervention.  The Greens have long made the case for fairer funding for general practice, to ensure that practices in the most deprived areas in Scotland are supported properly, and we need serious action to improve GP recruitment and retention across the country.

“Supporting salaried healthcare staff throughout the NHS is vital, and that's why we are leading the call to lift the public sector pay cap with above-inflation pay rises. 

“As well as maintaining high standards of healthcare throughout the NHS, we must have a renewed focus on tackling health inequalities.  Audit Scotland's report states that improvements to life expectancy and healthy life expectancy are stalling.  The Greens have always called for a greater emphasis on preventative public health measures and for targeted investment in the early years to help people live healthier lives.”

Johnstone added:

“The evidence is clear that GPs practicing in areas of high deprivation have longer patient lists and more patients with multiple health conditions.  Giving GPs and patients the time and support they need to tackle underlying health problems, and to act on the wider social and financial circumstances that determines health, is crucial if we are to tackle health inequalities and reduce pressure on acute services in our NHS.”