Back to work

Monday 11th January 2016


The first shots may have been fired in the election campaign, but it was very much back to business for MSPs in Parliament this week.

The Health and Sports committee picked up where it left off before the holidays with a jam packed agenda.

At the top of the list, were the Scottish Government’s budget plans for the National Health Service in the year ahead.

It’s no secret that the NHS is under huge pressure to match resources with the increasing demand placed upon it by a rising elderly population.

As I have said before in my column, one of the keys to addressing this problem is to shift the balance of care into the communities.

This is why I welcomed the Scottish Government’s announcement late last year that they intend to allocate £250m in to health and social care.

However, I was disappointed that the government failed to spell out exactly how this money would be allocated to local areas due to ongoing discussions with the councils.

It’s essential we use this funding to ensure more elderly people are given high quality care that they deserve in their own homes.

The funding should also be targeted toward improving support for staff to allow them the quality time they need to care for the elderly and vulnerable, rather than the 15min care visits we have at present.

It’s this lack of contact that contributes to too many elderly people leading their lives in isolation. As was highlighted during a debate in Parliament last week, according to research just over 50% of over 80s are often or always lonely.

This simply isn’t right and we need to do something about this to give back to those who have given so much to us.

While the election campaign will inevitably dominate the headlines in the weeks ahead, I hope that Parliament will keep its focus on important issues such as these and do its’ best to properly hold government to account.