New plan for 'healthier, wealthier Scotland' announced

RCPCH's Officer for Scotland responds to First Minister's programme for Government, welcoming steps forward for mental health but raising concern over school curriculum.

In a speech delivered by the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP set out a 'clear vision of the kind of country we want to be.'

The programme included major reform of mental health services, investment in infrastructure and publishing an NHS waiting times improvement plan, setting out a range of short and medium term actions to substantially and sustainably improve performance across the Scottish health service.

Responding to the SNP’s programme for Government, Professor Steve Turner, Officer for Scotland for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), said,

"As children’s doctors seeing a crisis in mental health, we know that issues left undetected or unsupported can have a major impact on a child’s future prospects. Early intervention will be key to either preventing the early onset of ill health or providing support so conditions do not worsen, so the First Minister’s £250m cash injection for mental health services is one we very much welcome.

"The First Minister also plans to give more control over curriculum to schools. Whilst this can have its merits, I acknowledge the proposal with caution. Schools are well placed to tackle many of the health issues currently blighting the lives of children – mental health, emotional resilience and nutrition are just three. Without full support of every school, there is a chance opportunities to improve children’s health could be missed, so we ask that Scottish Government funds and embeds compulsory evidence based health and wellbeing programmes in all primary and secondary schools to tackle issues around social inclusion, bullying, drug and alcohol use, nutrition and mental health."