April 2013 edition

The Socialist Health Association was founded in 1930 to campaign for a National Health Service. While we will take pride in celebrating the 65th anniversary of the NHS later this year, our main focus is looking forward. We campaign for improvements not only in health services but in health – and particularly in tackling inequalities in health service access and in health outcomes.

Healthier Scotland: the Journal is part of our attempt to take the health debate in Scotland forward. We welcome the level of political consensus in Scotland around health that means we avoid the ideological dogma that is undermining the NHS in England. However, we have huge health challenges to address and that requires new thinking on how to address them.

In this edition we start with Iain Gray’s challenge to the health consensus. He argues the status quo is no longer an option for NHS Scotland.

Dr Margaret McCartney author of ‘The Patient Paradox’ argues for a different type of reform by concentrating resources on those who are ill.

Dave Watson then provides an overview of health inequality in Scotland and asks if structural change can be part of the solution.

Shelia Duffy outlines the role tobacco use plays in health inequality and Richard Simpson follows that up with his proposed private members bill on measures to address alcohol misuse.

The debate over homeopathy in the NHS has resurfaced with the NHS Lothian consultation and a vigorous internal debate within the SHA. So we invited Susan McAllion, a doctor and Alex Mcmahon, a scientist, to give us their contrasting views on the subject.

Gordon McKay rails against the media portrayal of mental health and Matt Mclaughlin highlights the role of nurses in NHS Scotland as their numbers fall yet again.

We hope you find this edition of Healthier Scotland interesting and we are grateful to the contributors for their time and effort. To keep the discussion going we would welcome feedback and views. Please go to our website or blog.

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