Tuesday, 19 April 2011

NHS and social action both needed to improve nation's health

The STUC today called for increased collaboration and joint initiatives between NHS, local authorities and other public bodies to improve public health in Scotland; and campaign for more support to health professions in community settings to promote public health and to target health inequalities as part of high quality care pathways for patients.

Supporting a motion from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, UNISON's Catriona Beveridge stressed that health and social action were both needed to work hand in hand to improve the nation's health.

"The NHS means people born in this country after 1947 have never had to worry about that happening to them. There have been many successes. Infant mortality halved in a decade. Tuberculosis largely conquered Life expectancy increased by over 10 years.

"But while the NHS played a significant role in these leaps in progress. It cannot take all the credit. It is public services as a whole that deserve the credit. Improved housing has been as important in the fight against TB as any drug.

"Immunisation programmes and health education run through schools mean many killer diseases are all but forgotten. Health and safety legislation and enforcement has reduced accidents Sick pay, the state pension…I could go on and on.

"Good public services save lives But there is still much left undone", she added.

"We need better housing an end to fuel poverty and an end to poverty and inequality Tackling these issues will reduce the costs to the NHS.

"That's why the NHS was not set up on its own. It was part of a welfare state focused on tackling all the great wants.

"We cannot let that great vision be washed away by another Tory Government. We must fight to protect the NHS and all our services".

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