Comment: SNP focus on NHS care

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We have all witnessed the debacle of the UK Government vs Junior Doctors in England.

This mishandled attempt to change the contracts of junior doctors is just the latest in a series of damaging top-down changes from a Tory party that claims to believe in local solutions. The confirmation from Nicola Sturgeon that Scotland would not follow Westminster’s lead was welcomed.

Just as England braced
itself for a damaging strike by the junior doctors, the OECD published figures showing that Scottish Government investment in our NHS is making a big difference. The report highlighted Scotland’s world-leading Patient Safety Programme and that core
Accident and Emergency waiting times have been better in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK for nine months, with over 94 per cent of patients seen within four hours.

Deaths from two of Scotland’s biggest killers, heart disease and strokes, have fallen by a third since the SNP took office. The SNP have invested in the health and care workforce and there are more people working in our Scottish NHS than ever before. This includes an extra 2000 nurses and midwives, and over 2500 more doctors. The SNP will always push to keep improving our NHS.

The Scottish Government is focussed on improving diagnosis and treatment for mental health issues, and is to invest £100 million over the next five years.

The UK Government also claims to be committed to improving mental health.
However, recent research by NHS Scotland showed a strong link between DWP imposed benefit sanctions and an increase in mental ill-health. Creating more mental health problems through a punitive and often bizarre sanctions regime is counterproductive if the UK Government wants to tackle causes of mental ill-health.

Last week my staff and I received training in understanding dementia from Alzheimer Scotland. This extremely useful training gave us real insight into the effects of dementia and the little things we can all do to help.

You can’t always tell if someone’s behaviour is affected by dementia, but a little patience, kindness, and understanding can go a long way. Alzheimer Scotland offers this training to any business, school or organisation, so if you think this would be a benefit to you, don’t hesitate to get in touch via my office.

The most moving meeting I have attended recently was with a young Yazidi woman, Nadia Murad, from Iraq.

The Yazidi are a Kurdish people whose religion has made them targets for Daesh. Having escaped after enslavement by Daesh, Nadia has made it her mission to tell the world how her people are being murdered, raped and enslaved.

She is a remarkable young woman, having survived such an ordeal and still to be carrying the message of her people across the world.

Quite rightly, the United Nations has responded to testimony from Nadia and others by branding the actions of Daesh as potential war crimes and have asked the Security Council to refer them to the International Criminal Court.

It was a privilege to meet Nadia, and I am pleased to share her story, as she requested.

If you want to contact me on any of these issues, or on any other matter, please get in touch at or via my Facebook or Twitter pages.