STRUGGLES to get a GP appointment, long hospital waiting lists, the gaping divide between the health of the “haves” and “have nots” in Scotland.
There’s plenty to occupy anyone scrutinising Scotland’s performance on health-related issues, including some of the most pressing problems many of us face in our day-to-day lives. How Lothians MSP Neil Findlay is going to have time to consider questions of sport in his new post as convener of Holyrood’s health and sport committee is anyone’s guess.
Of course the two subjects sit naturally together and any progress that he can help to make in the field of sport is likely to have a knock-on effect in time on the health of the nation.
The left-wing Labour MSP has just been appointed to an influential job and one which will only become more important in the months ahead. The huge pressures on our hospitals and GPs need to be tackled, with the way ahead being neither clear nor easy. The merger of health and social care services is likely to throw up challenges on which ministers may need to be held to account.
The fact that the committee which Mr Findlay will lead will no longer have a built-in majority of SNP MSPs will give it more independence and greater opportunity to challenge the Scottish Government. That is a position which he must use wisely if he is to make the most of it.
The portents though are good. Positions like these do not always go to politicians who have a strong background in the subjects involved. That is not true in this case – Mr Findlay is a former party spokesman on health with a long history of raising issues about the health service in the Lothians. Rather than being wedded to any political ideology, he has tended to highlight issues causing concern within the community.
We congratulate him on his appointment, and wish him the best of luck. He may need it.