Alex Cole-Hamilton takes aim at SNP handling of healthcare on Dundee visit

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today used a visit to Dundee to call on the SNP to save a local health centre from closure and set out his party's plans for reinvigorating local health services. 

Mr Cole-Hamilton is the only party leader to raise the Ryehill Health Centre closure situation with Humza Yousaf, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care. He has asked that the health secretary steps in to ensure that NHS Tayside taking over the direct running of the health centre is firmly on the table. 

The Scottish Liberal Democrat local manifesto will include pledges to: 

  • Make local authorities mental health champions.  
  • Set an ambition to give every local authority workplace the benefits of a mental health first aider, capable of providing peer support and identifying signs of ill health among colleagues. 
  • Support a preventative approach with more counsellors available for schools.  
  • Participate in the wider system of mental health support to guarantee that there is no wrong door for accessing services and waiting times are drastically reduced. 
  • Campaign for more mental health practitioners for key local settings such as GP surgeries and alongside the police. 
  • Support stronger local health services so that people can get the care they need closer to home. 
  • Back calls for new support for the sufferers of long Covid who have been overlooked by the Scottish Government, including specialist clinics and in-home support.  

After he joined Scottish Liberal Democrat campaigners at the Ryehill Health Centre, Mr Cole-Hamilton said: 

"Two years of Covid-19 and 15 years of SNP mismanagement have taken their toll on our NHS. Scottish Liberal Democrats have a rich history of investing in Scotland’s health, introducing free dental and eye checks, free personal care and recently winning £120 million more for mental health. 

"On the SNP's watch targets are being missed, staff are demoralised and sites such as the Ryehill Health Centre are threatened with closure. That's not good enough. 

"Scottish Liberal Democrats will champion the importance of local health services capable of providing physical and mental support to those who need it. Communities need new hope. They will only get that with the Scottish Liberal Democrats." 

Fraser Macpherson, local councillor for the West End said:

"Closing Ryehill Health Centre would throw a spanner in the works for 4,500 patients.  

"I cannot accept that, after so many years of service to the community, the approach of the Health Board is to simply accept it closes. It must look at the option of running the practice itself to keep it open. NHS Tayside already directly runs four GP practices across Tayside. If it can be done there, it can be done at Ryehill Health Centre. 

"With Scottish Liberal Democrat councillors you will get community champions who fight for you and your local services." 

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