Hospitals (Access)

Health and Well-being – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:15 pm on 25th October 2007.

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Photo of Hugh Henry Hugh Henry Labour 2:15 pm, 25th October 2007

To ask the Scottish Executive what action it is taking to ensure access to hospitals for all sections of the community. (S3O-922)

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

Our discussion document "Better Health, Better Care" is generating debate on how we can put the expectations of people and patients at the heart of decision making in NHS Scotland. It will lead us to publish an action plan by the end of this year that sets out our priorities for health and well-being. Discussion is focusing on how we can help people to sustain and improve their health, especially in disadvantaged communities, and on how to ensure better, local and faster access to health care.

Photo of Hugh Henry Hugh Henry Labour

The minister will be aware of the furore among employees and communities about Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS Board's car parking charge proposals. Does she agree that the proposals discriminate against lower-paid employees and those sections of the community who need treatment or want to visit people in hospital but cannot afford to pay the charges? Will she give a commitment to take action to prevent the health board from imposing this punitive levy on people who will not be able to access hospitals if it is introduced?

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

I am aware of what Hugh Henry describes as the furore that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde's proposals have caused. I am also aware that national health service boards, including NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, are operating within the guidance that the previous Administration issued on car parking charges. I have expressed openly my concern about aspects of car parking policy. That is why I have set up a review group to examine the guidance and to submit recommendations for change to me. I hope that that will produce a much better balance between the pressures that NHS boards face and ensuring fairness and equity for patients, visitors and the wider public.