Tackling housing, diet & low incomes crucial to ease strain on 70-year-old NHS

Fixing the problems of damp, cold housing, poor diet and low incomes are crucial if Scotland is to ease the strain on the 70-year-old National Health Service, according to Scottish Greens health spokesperson Alison Johnstone MSP.

Marking today's anniversary of the creation of the NHS, Alison said:

"There is much that we can learn from the history of our health service. If we want to ensure that every generation looks forward to better health than the last, we have to renew the sense of collective care and ambition that was central to the NHS's founding 70 years ago.

"In recent years we have seen life expectancy in the UK begin to fall and it is not a coincidence that it has happened in an age of austerity. We still see physical and mental health inequalities in Scotland between the richest and poorest parts of the country.

"The impact on our health from damp and cold housing, poor diet and low incomes remains obvious. If we do not fix those problems, our NHS takes the strain. We have recently decided that vital social care, like health care, should be free at the point of need, and I believe we could go further by ending charges for other forms of care.

"We have to make sure that our NHS is protected from corporate interests, and we must have a greater say over immigration policy in Scotland as the prospect of leaving the European Union threatens the safe staffing of our health and social care services. As we mark 70 years of the NHS, we should thank the thousands of healthcare professionals, researchers, administrators and support staff who make it all possible."