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Thursday, 15 March, 2001, 10:51 GMT
SNP health policies

Find out more about the SNP's policies on health.

Health is a devolved matter dealt with by the Scottish Parliament and Executive. The general election to Westminster does not affect the implementation of this domestic policy in Scotland. The SNP's policy is included for indicative reasons only.


WAITING LISTS

The SNP pledges that it would cut by half the maximum waiting times for all inpatient treatments.

The party says that this would be funded by directing more investment into hospital buildings, medical equipment and nurses.

The party also says that the length of waiting lists vary too greatly across Scotland and that people should be treated as close to their home as possible.


INEQUALITIES

The SNP advocates a national health care commission for Scotland to tackle health inequalities.

The commission would include MSPs, health professionals, unions and lay members.

The body would have a "central role in the drive to end postcode treatment", something the SNP pledges to end within its first term in office.

Access to treatment would be decided by a "professional assessment of clinical need and not by the lottery of a patient's residence".

No patient will be denied access to a drug or treatment which has been passed by the Health Technology Board for Scotland (the equivalent of the National Institute for Clinical Excellence in England and Wales).

The SNP has pledged to maintain standards of clinical excellence.

It also promises action to tackle poor health in Scotland, pledging free fruit in schools and better school meals.

The SNP also promises to remove dental check up charges.


CAPACITY

The party has pledged to invest in hospitals, via a Scottish trust for public investment, and carry out an audit on existing medical equipment.

Based on the results of the audit, investment will be ploughed into areas where equipment is substandard.

The party also proposes a "Clean Hospitals Fund", ending NHS charges for dental treatment and freezing prescription charges.


STAFFING

The SNP says nursing numbers across Scotland have fallen by 800 since Labour won the 1997 general election, that there are fewer nurse consultants and a shortage of doctors in some specialities.

The SNP has pledged to increase nurse numbers by 1,500 to tackle shortages in both acute and primary care. This would include a new recruitment campaign.


SOCIAL CARE

The SNP has backed the Royal Commission on long term care for the elderly in full.

It pledges to fund free nursing and personal care for the elderly in nursing and residential homes.

It says that it has made an "unequivocal commitment" to meet the costs of personal care in Scotland in full.

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