Scotland can secure a health and social care system for the future:
- Green MSPs will fight for a health service that is fit for the future. NHS in Scotland must be kept in public hands and we support a review of all contracts with private providers. Austerity measures and welfare reform have had a significant impact on large numbers of people who are already bearing the poorest health and will continue to do so for years to come. Funding for NHS in Scotland needs to be increased to take account of this health time-bomb and Health and Social Care integration needs to provide joined up care with strong links between social, primary and acute care.
- Safe staff levels. Green MSPs will fight for a Living Wage Plus for social care staff to help deliver the best frontline services possible. We will push to make healthcare jobs in Scotland more attractive, with less paperwork and more time for learning and career development. We will give senior healthcare professionals greater power over the operation and organisation of care, with a greater focus on long-term targets for preventative care.
- Making primary care fair. 90% of patient contacts with the health service are with GPs and other primary care professionals in communities yet these services are not currently distributed so that they are more available to those most in need. Primary services are vital to preventing the need for more acute services. Greens will seek to ensure that all primary care services - GPs, community and practice nurses, pharmacists and others have the resources to improve shared working and caseload, and fight to ensure that primary care provision is equitable.
- Ageing society. We celebrate our ageing society. It brings challenges for the health and social care system but these changes can be positive. The challenges require us to provide care concentrated on retaining people’s independence and to create an inclusive culture where more people of all ages play a positive role in society. The unpaid and undervalued care and expertise which older people bring to society should be valued. Green MSPs will push for a commission to explore new ways (and lost old ways) of supporting an inclusive culture which maintains people’s health and independence.
- Social care funding. Social care supports many thousands of people to lead a more independent life but funding is stretched to breaking point. Older people, disabled people and their carers – predominantly women – are at greater risk of poverty as a result. We recognise that providing universal social care which enables people to live full lives will require more public spending. There is a significant financial cost to doing this, but a much larger social and human cost if we don’t do it.
- Fight privatisation. Green MSPs will oppose NHS privatisation. Over £85m of NHS revenue spending was spent on using the private sector, up 18% since 2009/10 and private sector PFI debt costs the NHS over £220m a year in 2015/16. Greens will push for a debt arbitration commission to explore cancelling or significantly renegotiating any damaging PFI contracts.