We need to look to the future of our NHS
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