At any one time 1 person in 5 in Scotland is experiencing mental health problems. A high proportion of this is due to depression and stress. Approximately 1/3 of children and 1/4 of pensioners live in low-income households, which can badly affect their state of health.

Health is the state of mental, physical and social well-being and not just the absence of disease. Scotland’s abysmal health record will only be improved by tackling the causes of ill health such as poverty, poor diet, poor housing, pollution and an unhealthy environment. Scottish Green Party policies are geared towards making a lasting improvement in the health of Scottish people by tackling causes, not just symptoms. We believe that only by living a healthy lifestyle in a healthy environment will our health improve substantially. We are confident that more effective preventative and complementary measures will free up some of the huge amounts of money currently spent on drugs and other symptom-based treatments.

Greens recognise the continuing need for the availability of a full range of medical treatment free at the point of use. We will, however, also place far more emphasis on preventative medicine and public health education. We believe that an effective health service requires patients to have access to a range of motivated and skilled health workers.

Greens also regard illegal drug use as a health issue. We will campaign to change the emphasis in tackling drug misuse from arrest and prosecution to control, harm reduction and rehabilitation. Our aim is to break the link between drug use and crime.

Green MSPs will work for the following:

  • We will improve pay and conditions for health professionals and include complementary treatments of proven value within the NHS. We will update training for healthcare workers, and include more about nutrition, mental health and complementary therapies. We will end league tables for hospitals, phase out PFIs and PPPs for building new hospitals and ensure that mental health services are properly funded

  • We will improve the food served by the NHS to both staff and patients. Organic, locally produced food will be used and, when appropriate, healthy, low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar foods will be served. Vegetarian, vegan and religiously appropriate food will also be readily available.

  • We will promote a healthy lifestyle and preventative medicine and ensure greater community participation in local health policy decision-making. We will provide more support for local and community hospitals and reduce centralisation of hospital resources.

  • We will launch a major new ‘healthy hospitals’ initiative, with the aim of ending the misery of thousands of patients who contract infections while in hospital.

  • We will establish community-based treatment centres where drugs can be obtained on prescription and where there will be teams of workers to help those with drug problems. The supply of cannabis will be allowed in specifically licensed premises, and cultivation and possession of cannabis for personal use will no longer be a criminal offence. There will also be greater support for harm-reduction and withdrawal programmes for users of alcohol and tobacco as well as illegal drugs.

  • Poor diet is a major cause of ill health. To improve the diet of young people, Greens will ensure that every child attending a local authority managed school has access to a free, tasty and nutritious lunch. This would also remove the social stigma attached to the current means-tested free school meals service.

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Scottish Green Party, PO Box 14080, Edinburgh EH10 6YG
Tel / Fax: 0131 478 7896