Local MP Richard Thomson has welcomed comments from the Chief Medical Officer for England, Sir Chris Whitty, who has lauded the SNP Government’s transformative public health measures in Scotland.
Speaking to Westminster’s Health & Social Care Committee, Sir Chris remarked that he wanted to “acknowledge the really great work that is done in Scotland” before telling the Committee, “Scotland has actually blazed a trail in many areas of public health”.
Sir Chris also revealed that himself and health colleagues in Conservative-run England have “learnt” from Scotland’s public health vision.
Boasting the most generous Social Contract in any part of the UK, the SNP Government has introduced free school meals for all children from P1-P5 and all children from households in receipt of Universal Credit, free prescriptions, free dental care, the Baby Box and the Scottish Child Payment – described by leading charities as “game-changing”.
Commenting, Richard Thomson MP said:
“Sir Chris Whitty became a familiar face on UK-wide news bulletins during the pandemic and is a highly-respected figure.
“It should therefore come as no surprise that England’s Chief Medical Officer has been looking north while public health standards in the rest of the UK remain stuck.
“From free school meals to free prescriptions and the Baby Box, the SNP Scottish Government has led the way in delivering progressive and forward-thinking public health measures that people across Scotland have benefitted from.
“The Scottish Government’s approach to improving Scotland’s public health is working and we are moving in the right direction. Yet, we all know there is much work to do while far too many families continue to be affected by the cost-of-living crisis.
“The Scottish Government has used the powers it does have to ensure that people in Scotland benefit from the most generous social contract in any part of the UK.
“The SNP team at Westminster will continue pressing the UK Government to match Scotland’s ambitions on health, but it is beyond question that the only way we can realise our full potential as the healthier, stronger and more equal nation we all want to see is through independence.”
“Firstly, just to acknowledge the really great work that is done in Scotland, although I am just speaking on England, I am the CMO for England, I talk every week, and often more than that to my opposite number, Doctor Smith and his colleagues […] fantastic public health colleagues in Scotland – and we learn a lot, because Scotland has actually blazed a trail in many areas of public health that we have learnt from. I hope the same is also true in the other direction, so there is learning between the four nations of the UK.”
Professor Sir Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England – 21 February 2023, Health and Social Care Committee - Commons Select Committee