SNP pledges ‘framework’ for drug consumption rooms in manifesto

As part of its manifesto for the UK general election, the Scottish National Party also said it would decriminalise drugs for personal use.
john swinney

The Scottish National Party (SNP) has said it would allow supervised drug consumption facilities, in its general election manifesto.

The manifesto, published on 19 June 2024, said that the party would introduce a “framework” to allow the drug consumption facilities, as part of what it described as a “radical public health approach”.

The party also vowed to decriminalise drugs for personal use as part of the approach.

The UK’s first drug consumption room was approved to open in Glasgow, Scotland, in September 2023. The facility, which is yet to open, will allow people to use drugs in a sterile environment under medical supervision.

Plans to open a safe consumption facility in Scotland had previously been blocked by the UK government, but the current proposal will be able to go ahead after Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain KC — Scotland’s chief legal officer — said it would not be in the public interest to prosecute users for possession of illegal drugs while at the facility.

The management of healthcare in Scotland is devolved to the Scottish government, but the SNP also said in its manifesto that it would boost NHS England spending “by a minimum of £10bn extra each year to address rampant inflationary pressures and improve performance”, in advance of the UK general election.

The manifesto states that the extra investment into NHS England would generate an additional £1bn annually for NHS Scotland.

A spokesperson for Community Pharmacy Scotland said: “Investment in the NHS and wider primary care network is essential to ensure access to health care is kept within the communities of Scotland, keeping people well at home.

“The plans outlined for the NHS within the SNP’s manifesto include increasing the NHS spending budget and we hope that would include investment in the community pharmacy network to make sure it is there for the future, and further development of community pharmacy services to help deliver a sustainable NHS model.”
The manifesto also demands that the UK government invest at least £6bn in additional funding in NHS England staff’s pay and conditions to match Scotland’s most recent pay deals for NHS staff.

In addition, the SNP said it would “treat problem gambling as a public health matter”, and that it would attempt to introduce a Bill to Parliament that would “protect the NHS from Westminster privatisation”.

It added that any further privatisation of the NHS should be ruled out and that a ‘Keep the NHS in Public Hands’ Bill would “stop any UK government undermining the principles and protections of the NHS as part of any future trade deals”.

  • This article was updated on 20 June 2024 to include comment from Community Pharmacy Scotland
Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, June 2024, Vol 312, No 7986;312(7986)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2024.1.321285

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