It WOULD appear that the penny is beginning to drop, even among the members of the Scottish Government, that they control the NHS in Scotland. If it wants healthcare to be free at the point of delivery, as it is in the rest of the UK, then the Scottish Government makes that decision, nobody else.
There is certainly no indication whatsoever that this will change in the rest of the UK. Pure logic tells you that it would be political suicide for any government of whatever political hue to end the principle of free delivery, which is what the NHS is all about.
As for a reduction in spending, that is not planned either.
This present UK Government has increased spending on health and its spending plans for the foreseeable future are for further increases.
Any privatisation relates to services provided within the NHS paid for from that ever-increasing budget and is intended to obtain better value for money, a fact noted by a number of media commentators, as well as various politicians.
Scotland has already diversified from the manner in which the NHS is run in the rest of the UK, eg free prescriptions, without any interference from the rest of the UK. Until recently the supposed threat to the NHS in Scotland was not a headline item raised by the independence movement.
Only in recent weeks, as they have stalled in the opinion polls, has it become a major issue for the Nationalists.
Clear evidence, along with the facts, demonstrates that this latest campaigning tactic by the Nationalists is a piece of scaremongering of the very worst type, based as it is on a series of untruths and the unnecessary fear it creates among the particularly vulnerable.
John B Gorrie
I have been following the debate over the NHS in an independent Scotland with much interest.
My wife is a pharmacist and my daughter a surgeon, and her fiancé is a nurse practitioner, both of whom trained in England. All three provide insight that goes well beyond oft-quoted statistics and opinions.
Putting the independence debate temporarily aside, I would like to offer an observation on private versus public health provision. Accepting, for the sake of this point, that the quality of care is equal in both cases, the quality of provision is most certainly not, and for many reasons. The principal inequality I see between the public and private provision is in training.
The NHS trains its staff for the most part. Even my wife, a community pharmacist, benefits from a programme of continuous professional development, much of which is provided by the NHS.
The private sector, as far as I can see, is parasitic on the NHS and this is an inequality which is never mentioned or addressed. I will leave the ramifications for Scotland’s future for others to ponder, whichever way the vote goes, but would like to offer one possible remedy.
There should be a levy on private healthcare provision to offset their lack of training provision, as used to be the case for engineers and builders.
Might I suggest that 100 per cent of their turnover, unless they could show otherwise, would be a sensible starting point. That should fix it. It would certainly stop the need for further debate.
In THE event of a No vote the NHS in Scotland will be privatised. This is not SNP spin, it is fact.
Under the terms of the soon to be enforced Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) which is currently being negotiated between the US and the EU, all of Europe’s public sector has to be opened up to private US corporations.
The only exception will be things which are already a public sector monopoly.
Due to Scotland being a region of the UK and due to the NHS privatisation occurring in England there will be nothing Holyrood can do as private corporations devour the NHS in Scotland.
The lies in the referendum campaign have come from the No side.
They claim there will be more powers if Scotland says No, yet leader of the No Campaign Alistair Darling couldn’t name any in the debate and London mayor Boris Johnson has said there will be none.
The only way to protect the NHS in Scotland and ensure Holyrood gets the powers it needs to tackle inequality is a Yes vote in September.
Which parts of the Scottish Health Service are left to be “privatised” or to be “protected?” (Letters, 20 August)
Most family GPs are not salaried employees of the Scottish Health Service but are known as “private contractors”.
Also nurses, to make up for a chronic shortfall in staff, are often supplied by private agencies.
Moreover, waiting lists are being reduced by the Scottish Government already by sending patients to private hospitals.
Isn’t care of the elderly at home, or in care and nursing homes in private hands?
Also, don’t forget the purchase of drugs, surgical instruments, X-ray machines, scanners, computers and beds from the private sector.
Aren’t some areas in Scotland also supplied with an out-of-hours GP service by 24-hour private suppliers?
Noticeably, hospitals and medical centres are also still being built and expanded and financed by private capital.
Arguably, any Scottish government would find it difficult to resist further “privatisation” in the future.
Old Chapel Walk