Raising the standard

Scotland's health

Key pledges

The challenge

Scotland once led the world in medicine. Scots discovered penicillin and chloroform and built our great Victorian hospitals. Now our country has a very different reputation for health care. The death rate from lung cancer and coronary heart disease is far too high. Poor diet and poor housing contribute to making us one of the sick countries of the European Union.

At the same time, we have a crisis in our hospitals. Too many Scots are waiting too long and in too much pain for operations. Resources are not keeping pace with ever-rising demands and escalating costs.

Scotland has far too few doctors and nurses. The present Government has made the problem worse by setting itself the wrong target. It is concentrating on reducing waiting lists. Yet the numbers on the waiting list matter far less than the length of time for which patients have to wait for their operations.

Our priorities

Scotland faces both an immediate and a long-term problem in health care. The immediate concern is underfunding and the unacceptable effects on the sick and vulnerable which it causes. Ihe long-term need is to improve public health and to prevent disease. Our key priorities address these problems.

Improving public health

We will:

Boosting the NHS

We will:

Streamlining the health service

At present, too much money is wasted in the NHS. It is still too bureaucratic and it lacks clear targets and objectives. Without embarking on a further massive reorganisation, which would only disrupt care and damage staff morale, Liberal Democrats believe there are many ways of streamlining the NHS to direct money towards patients instead of bureaucracy.

We will:

Community care

The welfare system in Scotland has allowed too many people, especially the old and the mentally ill, to fall through the net. Our plans to tackle welfare and health care together will do much to alleviate these problems. Many more elderly people would be able to remain in their own homes with a litle more support. We would improve services to help them and those who care for them.

We will:

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