The wider NHS
The independent Audit Scotland has shown funding for the NHS from the Scottish Government has slipped and the gaps are obvious to everyone.
We commit to fund the Scottish NHS so that it stays ahead of inflation and keeps pace with funding in the rest of the UK.
The greatest challenge for the NHS is to deal with the growing pressures on its services.
The formal linking of health and social care has the potential to bring big benefits. We will work hard to make it a success so that people get the care and the treatment that is best for them. We will value the care workforce, enabling them to provide more continuity of care for the people they help. They will be paid at least the Living Wage.
Our investment in mental health services, GPs and primary care, together with the joining up of health and social care will be underpinned by solid funding for the NHS. We will make sure that health funding keeps pace with increases elsewhere in the UK, and increases by at least inflation every year.
These steps will put the Scottish NHS on a strong footing for the future especially when put together with the new professional freedoms from our Public Service Leadership and Empowerment Act.
This will give professionals the right to exercise their skills in public services. Doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and pharmacists will have greater scope to help patients and improve services.
We will work with the Royal Colleges to reduce the burden of detailed targets that get in the way of effective clinical treatment. We will extend this to as many professionals as appropriate, for example giving community pharmacists limited authority to comment and seek changes to prescriptions.
We will improve workforce planning in the Scottish NHS so that we retain and recruit the right number of staff. We will require the health minister to publish an annual report on workforce planning and lead an annual debate on it in the Scottish Parliament to allow MSPs to challenge the plans.
We will retain the present model of seven-day urgent NHS services, whilst not imposing wholesale weekend working for elective procedures, continuing to expand and improve treatment facilities.
We will take forward the recommendations of the new cancer strategy Beating Cancer: Ambition and Action.
Free personal care for the elderly was one of the great success stories of the time of Liberal Democrats in the first Scottish Government, and we will extend it to make sure care services are available free of charge for people with dementia at all ages – Frank’s Law.
We will also support a range of action to improve research and care for those with Motor Neurone Disease, including ending care charges for personal care for people with degenerative illnesses such as dementia and Motor Neurone Disease.
We will support access to pre-exposure PrEP treatment for those most vulnerable to HIV transmission.