We need to look to the fu­ture of our NHS

Stirling Observer - - FIRST WORLD WAR CENTENARY - Keith Brown

I was de­lighted to at­tend Stir­ling’s re­cent Armed Forces Day event in Kings Park. This was a fan­tas­tic day which gave us op­por­tu­nity to ex­press their sup­port of, and grat­i­tude to, those in uni­form on the ground, in the air and at sea who put them­selves on the line to de­fend our way of life and the free­dom we en­joy.

Last week saw the 70th an­niver­sary of the Na­tional Health Ser­vice. Our NHS has gone from strength to strength over the last 70 years, and this mile­stone rep­re­sents an op­por­tu­nity to ap­pre­ci­ate the vi­tal role the ser­vice plays in all our lives, and to look back and cel­e­brate the pos­i­tive im­pact the NHS has had on us all.

It is also a time to reaf­firm our com­mit­ment to the found­ing prin­ci­ples of the NHS - that health­care should be pro­vided free at the point of need.

This com­mit­ment re­mains as strong as ever, and is just as rel­e­vant to­day as it was in 1948, which is why Scot­land’s health ser­vice is re­ceiv­ing record fund­ing that is pro­vid­ing his­tor­i­cally high num­bers of doc­tors, nurses and den­tists, plus a pro­posed pay deal for the ma­jor­ity of staff that is the high­est in the UK.

Since 1948 the NHS has de­liv­ered huge med­i­cal ad­vances and im­prove­ments to pub­lic health, let­ting many more of us live longer, health­ier lives.

It has all but erad­i­cated dis­eases such as po­lio and diph­the­ria, and Scot­land it­self has a long and proud his­tory of de­liv­er­ing med­i­cal ad­vances, such as the es­tab­lish­ment of ul­tra­sound, the UK’s first suc­cess­ful kid­ney trans­plant and ad­vances in the use of key­hole surgery.

Scot­land’s NHS has changed sig­nif­i­cantly in its 70 years and its best qual­i­ties have en­dured. From the care, com­pas­sion, and pro­fes­sion­al­ism of its staff, to re­main­ing a pub­lic, uni­ver­sal ser­vice based on need, striv­ing at all times for the high­est pos­si­ble stan­dards in clin­i­cal ex­cel­lence and pa­tient care.

The choices, ser­vices and out­comes that NHS Scot­land pro­vides to­day would not have been imag­in­able in 1948, and they keep adapt­ing, de­vel­op­ing and chang­ing. Stand­ing still isn’t an op­tion.

For ex­am­ple, in its first year, 15 mil­lion pre­scrip­tions were dis­pensed in Scot­land. To­day, the fig­ure is over 103 mil­lion.

Since the SNP abol­ished pre­scrip­tion charges in 2011, Scot­tish tax­pay­ers have saved an av­er­age of £1,143.80 each com­pared to pa­tients south of the bor­der.

Scot­land’s health ser­vice con­tin­ues to lead the way, with take up of free eye ex­am­i­na­tions grow­ing, and free per­sonal care for all.

Whilst it is only right that we ac­knowl­edge and com­mem­o­rate our past, it’s pos­si­bly even more im­por­tant to look ahead to the fu­ture of our NHS and our young staff, just at the start of their ca­reers who will play an im­por­tant role and make a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to the NHS for the next gen­er­a­tion.

As we look to the fu­ture we have to en­sure Scot­land’s NHS con­tin­ues to be a world-leader in com­pas­sion­ate, qual­ity health­care, build­ing on suc­cesses and cre­at­ing ser­vices that are fit for the fu­ture.

Ev­ery­one will have their own per­sonal sto­ries of what the NHS has done for them and their fam­ily. I would like to add my per­sonal thanks to all NHS staff and vol­un­teers, past and present who have ded­i­cated their work­ing lives to help­ing oth­ers, from cater­ing staff to doc­tors and nurses to porters.

It is also a time to reaf­firm our com­mit­ment to the found­ing prin­ci­ples of the NHS

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