Improving health is essential to helping people achieve their potential and living life to the fullest. We recognise that Scotland’s health and social care services are our most treasured national institutions with its greatest resource being the staff who work tirelessly every day.
The NHS in Scotland is under immense pressure. The lengths that staff have been willing to go to for their patients in the face of this is testament to their dedication and caring, but the situation needs proper attention from government. The health service is facing a recruitment crisis and emergency treatment targets are being missed month after month.
Scottish Liberal Democrats will not allow these issues to drift down the agenda any longer.
We will end the current NHS pay cap and guarantee the rights of all NHS and social care service staff who are EU nationals to stay in the UK, as well as ensuring that all health and social staff receive the living wage. Liberal Democrats will urge the Scottish Government to produce a national workforce strategy, to ensure that we never again experience a shortage in the numbers of GPs, hospital doctors, nurses and other professionals that the NHS needs.
Under the Liberal Democrat plan, Scotland will receive a fair share of the receipts from a 1p increase in the income tax paid on dividends. Scottish Liberal Democrats will urge the Scottish Government to spend this dividend on mental health, increasing the share of NHS spending on mental health to make the step change needed. Elsewhere in the UK, we will use 1p on all income tax rates to secure a £6 billion boost to secure the future of the NHS.
We will establish a cross-party health and social care convention, bringing together stakeholders from all political parties, patients groups, the public, and professionals from within the health and social care system to carry out a comprehensive review of the longer-term sustainability of the health and social care finances and workforce. This work must benefit the whole of the UK and we will invite the devolved administrations to be a part of it alongside the UK Government.
That’s how Liberal Democrats will ensure that everyone gets the care they need to fulfil their potential and live life to the fullest.