Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, has today been appointed to the role of Scottish Labour Spokesperson for Health, Social Care and Equalities by newly elected Scottish Labour leader, Anas Sarwar.
Baillie previously held the role of Finance Spokesperson where she led budget negotiations with the Scottish Government – and in particular pushed for a £15 social care minimum wage to be included in the 2021/22 final budget.
Sarwar chose Baillie for the role because of her extensive work within the health and social care sectors. Throughout the pandemic, Jackie Baillie has been at the forefront of calling for additional support and better PPE for health and social care staff. She has also called for a robust, testing strategy to run alongside the COVID-19 vaccine roll out and has highlighted a number of issues surrounding the supply of the vaccine directly with the First Minister.
For several years, Jackie Baillie has worked alongside local GPs and health campaigners to protect the Vale of Leven hospital from the removal of services, and most recently to fight for the full reinstatement of its’ out of hours service. During the early days of the pandemic, she worked alongside local care home and care at home staff to ensure that they had adequate PPE to keep themselves and their patients safe.
Jackie Baillie MSP said:
“I am delighted to have been appointed as Scottish Labour’s Health, Social Care and Equalities spokesperson as we head into the May elections. I will use this position to continue to stand up for the Vale of Leven hospital locally and to recognise the value of our health and social care workforce.
“It has never been a more critical time for the NHS – we need to remobilise services so that people are not having to wait any longer than necessary for operations and treatment.
“We need to learn the lessons from covid-19 so that our care homes, who were at the epicentre of the pandemic, never have to experience the tidal wave of deaths again. A National Care Service, first proposed by Labour 10 years ago, coupled with a £15 hourly rate of pay for social care workers. will start to raise standards in the sector.
“And we need to invest in mental health services. They were struggling before the pandemic and are under increasing pressure now.
“Now more than ever, it is vitally important that our health and social care services have investment to enable them to remobilise – and that those hardworking staff have all the support and protection required.”