Greens set out plans for a healthy and happy Scotland

For immediate release 27 April 2011

The Scottish Greens today set out their vision for the NHS in Scotland, based on a fully public service with diverse local health provision tailored to the needs of local communities, and a renewed emphasis on preventative medicine and healthy living. The party opposes the moves towards privatisation of the NHS being planned by the Tory/Lib Dem coalition at Westminster, and is also against moves to reorganise and centralise services in Scotland. Greens have joined campaigns to protect community hospitals during the last Parliament, services which are able to provide more personal support and which are significantly more convenient for rural communities in particular.

Greens also believe a higher priority should be given to supporting healthier lifestyles, by revisiting proposals for a minimum price per unit of alcohol, by a national tobacco control strategy, and by shifting transport funding towards the low-cost infrastructure required to boost walking and cycling.

Alis Ballance, the party's health spokesperson, speaking after a visit to a elderly daycare centre in Langholm, said:

"The NHS remains the absolute cornerstone of the public services Scots rely upon, and Greens will work tirelessly to protect Scotland's health services from the Tory/Lib Dem market obsessions currently driving health policy in England. We also support the kind of smaller hospitals and services which local communities rely upon, and which all too often face being closed in the name of centralisation.

"The reforms that are required aren't big bureaucratic changes, let alone measures to let the private sector profit from health services. What we need is a boost for healthy and active lifestyles. There's more to health and happiness than traditional medical provision, important as that is. From education to environmental pollution, planning and even housing standards, it's time for health and social care to be put back at the heart of the whole range of government policy."