What more can be done to improve our health?

Good health for life
The SNP’s approach will be as much about preventing illness as treating it. Both must go hand in hand, and we need more from our government than a few speeches about healthy eating. There are practical steps we can take to promote lifelong good health.

Studies show the importance of healthy diet during pregnancy. The SNP will give every expectant mother on Income Support, for the six months before birth, £50 per month to spend on fruit, vegetables and other healthy foods.

We will extend the free fruit in schools scheme to make sure that every child in primary school gets at least one piece of fruit every day, and abolish charges for dental check ups.

Cancer and heart disease are still major killers and as part of our strategy we will bring in measures to reduce smoking levels. We will ensure that the law prohibiting the sale of cigarettes to children is rigorously enforced and introduce tough new penalties for those caught flouting the law, including a negative licensing scheme to remove the right of the most persistent offenders to sell cigarettes.

We will review the ban on tobacco advertising annually, tightening it when necessary, and consult on legislation to provide smoke-free areas in public places to protect people from passive smoking.

As part of our commitment to lifelong health care we will seek to reduce the current complex bureaucracy faced by elderly and vulnerable people in our society, including improved co-operation between our health and local authority service providers.

Damaging drugs
Since 1999 much of the SNP’s drugs policy has been adopted by the Labour-Lib Dem coalition, including our proposals for Drugs Courts to deal with specific drug related crime.

In this election our priorities remain the same. We want to reduce the damage that drugs and drug related crime does to Scottish society. We need to focus on those substances which cause most damage. We need to concentrate on identifying and dealing with drug dealers, and we need to provide education and information to protect young people in particular against the danger of drugs.

We recognise that harm reduction and education are key to reducing the damage done by drugs. We also recognise that for problem drug users, rehabilitation services are vital. Community based work is essential in both of these areas, and we recognise the importance of stabilising funding to the organisations that provide them.

Taken together our plans offer a new direction for the NHS in Scotland. A direction where patients and staff come first. And where your priorities are the priorities of our government.

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