We need to invest upfront to deliver a healthier Scotland

Alison Johnstone, Health spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for Lothian, today used a Holyrood debate - Delivering a Healthier Scotland - to urge the Scottish Government to focus more on preventative spending and to fully oppose free-trade agreements such as TTIP.

Had the Green amendment to the government motion been selected by the Presiding Officer, MSPs would have been invited to formally support investment in preventative measures to boost good health, such as better housing, clean air and affordable nutritious food. The amendment also called on the Scottish Government to oppose undemocratic deals such as TTIP, not just call for an exemption for the NHS.

Alison Johnstone MSP said:

"While the Scottish Government is right that our NHS must be protected, the motion for debate today did not address the need to invest upfront to deliver a healthier Scotland. We know that many factors affecting people's health are outwith the control of the NHS and it is an agenda that Scottish Ministers have been incredibly slow to understand.

"We need to see a transformation in our approach to warm homes, to clean air and access to greenspace and walking and cycling infrastructure. Greens are also clear that undemocratic corporate power grabs such as TTIP must be opposed in their entirety."


Full text of amendment in the name of Alison Johnstone:
As an amendment to motion S5M-00346 in the name of Shona Robison (Taking Scotland Forward - Delivering a Healthier Scotland), leave out from second "believes" to end and insert “therefore believes that promoting health and reducing pressure on the NHS will require an end to funding cuts of wider public services under the Scottish Government's control; agrees that good health is substantially contingent on factors outside the health service such as affordable and warm housing, nutritious and affordable food, clean air and good public transport services; recognises that people living in Scotland’s most deprived areas are the least satisfied with their local greenspace and agrees that increased focus on and investment in preventative measures, such as access to high-quality, nature-rich greenspace, safe walking and cycling routes and access to affordable exercise can increase the health of Scotland’s population and that such investment makes economic sense; believes that the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and similar free trade agreements, pose a serious threat to the NHS and other public services, and calls on the Scottish Government to oppose such agreements”.

Letter to European and External Relations Committee in August 2014 in which John Swinney said: "The Scottish Government believes that TTIP could deliver significant economic benefits."