Independence can protect health and social care

As the UK Government publishes its White Paper on social care, SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Eilidh Whiteford MP said she ‘thanked heavens’ that Westminster no longer made decisions on Scotland’s health policy but warned that only independence would allow Scotland to protect its progressive health and social policies from regressive Westminster decisions.

Commenting, Dr Whiteford said:

“Looking at the UK Government’s proposals on social care in England I thank heavens that Westminster no longer make the decisions that affect Scotland’s elderly on health and social issues like these.

“Quality, compassionate care for older people that protects their dignity and independence, is one of the most sacred duties of any civilised society. Westminster may not value services like free personal and nursing care but the SNP do and so do the people of Scotland.

“As we have seen with the budget the Tory-led Westminster government keep making the wrong choices. Scotland has made a conscious decision to provide certain core universal services, rights or benefits, some of which are no longer prioritised by political leaders elsewhere in the UK – such as free university tuition, abolishing prescription charges, and free personal and nursing care for the elderly.

“With the UK Government slashing benefits to old and young it is important we protect the policies and values Scotland holds dear and that includes services like free personal and nursing care.

“The Scottish Government is using the independence that we already have on health policy to protect the elderly and vulnerable. However as the Tory-led government’s plans for the health service in England to get money from private patients show, future Westminster governments will use that as an excuse to freeze or reduce public funding for health overall which will have a direct effect on Scotland's Budget.

“The independence we have allows us to protect the principles of Scotland’s health system. But if we want to make sure that Tory health policies can't damage Scotland’s health and social care policies in any way, then we need independence. Only independence can fully guarantee we protect Scotland’s progressive policies for pensioners.”