Scottish Parliamentary Election
Health, social care, education and housing are just some of the matters of relevance to occupational therapists and their support staff and students which are devolved from Westminster to the Scottish Parliament
The decisions made by the new SNP government, about how to spend their reduced budgets are going to affect OT.
How we used the COT Election Manifesto to raise the profile of the profession
We kept the manifesto simple, focussing on people rather than services or conditions, and on the key political drivers. It set out the essential contribution our members make to improving the lives of others when something like a long term condition, stroke, disability, dementia, or just the cumulative effects of ageing, interferes with their ability to carry out their everyday lives.
Download the Election Manifesto 2011
We sent the manifesto to all candidates from the main four parties and quoted statements of support from those who signed up on our website.
We encouraged our members to:
- use the manifesto to speak to their local candidates. We gave our members advice on how to raise OT with their candidate and made suggestions to get them going e.g. let them know you are a BAOT member and discuss OT in general, or the value of what you do for people as an OT or OT assistant
- highlight that healthcare is not just about the NHS and the need for a future Government to recognise the key contribution of social care to health and ensure NHS funding is not safeguarded to the detriment of social care
- explain the value of OT in social work (and let them know around 1/4 of registered OTs are employed by social work) e.g. to enable people with long term conditions to remain at home, help reduce unnecessary hospital admissions in the elderly, provide community rehabilitation. Speak about the COT Changing Lives, Changing Practice report and the changing and essential role of OT in social work
- stress the value of having OT involved strategically in redesigning services to make the best use of the entire OT ‘resource’ across NHS and social care
- promote the essential role of OT in keeping people in work
- tell them that around a third of OTs work in mental health services and their importance to people with mental ill health
- talk about the essential role OT has in hospital and A&E working across NHS and social care services to enable older people and those with long term conditions to return home
- check our dedicated webpage to see it their candidates had signed up and...
- ...if they had not, we asked our members to encourage their candidates to do so.
- ...if they had signed up, we asked our members to thank their candidate for doing so and let them know it was important to them
- some members sent the manifesto to their local candidates and encouraged them to sign up. Other spoke to their candidates about it and gave them a paper copy. What did you do?
Now the election is over the Scottish Parliament has the following members by party so SNP will be forming the Government in Scotland. Results:
- Scottish National Party 69
- Scottish Labour 37
- Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party 15
- Scottish Liberal Democrats 5
- Scottish Green Party 2
- Independent 1
What SNP said they would do for OT if they got into power
Each of the main parties told OTN readers what they would do if they got into power. We wrote to all candidates attaching our manifesto and many of the SNP candidates signed up. The SNP candidates who replied from the middle of April onwards gave a standard response. Some SNP candidates made additional personal comments. The SNP standard response was:
'The SNP has a clear vision for the future of our nation’s health service. We want to see a health service that delivers faster treatment closer to home. We believe in keeping healthcare local – that’s why one of our first decisions in Government was to reverse the closure of A & E services at Monklands and Ayr hospitals. The SNP believes that we can improve the health of the people of Scotland by shifting the emphasis towards health improvement, preventative medicine and more continuous care in the community. This means providing care which is quicker, more personal and closer to home as well as enhancing services to deliver anticipatory care.
'We've guaranteed there will be no compulsory redundancies in the NHS, and have also guaranteed that the revenue budget of the NHS will be protected in real terms, ensuring the continuation of a first class health service in Scotland.
There is, of course, still room for improvement in integrating health and social care. The process of improvement is underway, and will be facilitated by £70 million of investment announced earlier this year in a new Change Fund. This fund will support better-integrated older people's services delivered by health boards, councils and the third and independent sectors. We understand the need to ensure a combined approach to support those with dementia, and are keen implement changes to deliver the care and support families need.'
What the College will do now
About half of the candidates who showed their support for our manifesto prior to the election were elected and our work now will include following this up with offers to meet. Please let Elizabeth MacDonald the Scotland policy officer know If any of the MSPs who represent you have a special interest in OT as this could be useful information.