JK Rowling: SNP ‘scaremongering’ over NHS

Harry Potter author JK Rowling. Picture: Getty

Harry Potter author JK Rowling. Picture: Getty

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SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE: JK Rowling re-entered the independence debate last night when she waded into the row over claims by the Yes campaign that a No vote would threaten the NHS in Scotland, accusing them of “scaremongering”.

The Harry Potter author disputed its repeated insistence that Scottish health provision would be hit by Westminster cuts and subject to privatisation.

In her first intervention in the referendum debate since backing the No campaign in June, donating £1 million to it, the writer took the unusual step of mentioning her husband, Dr Neil Murray, in attacking the Yes campaign’s NHS claims.

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“I’m also married to a Scottish GP who deplores scaremongering on the NHS,” she said, also referring to statements by medical experts such as Professor Alan Rodger, a former oncologist who is credited with turning the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre into one of the top facilities of its kind, dismissing the SNP’s claims as “deliberately spreading fear about the NHS and its future”.

Rowling, who has ploughed millions into medical research, added: “I fund medical research in Scotland.”

Pointing to a joint open letter released in July by the Presidents of the Academy of Medical Sciences, the British Academy and the Royal Society, in which they stated: “If separation were to occur, research not only in Scotland but also in the rest of the UK would suffer. However, research in Scotland would be more vulnerable and there could be significant reductions in range, capability and critical mass.”

She also alluded to an online examination of the SNP’s claims by Channel 4 news which concludes that they were baseless.

Rowling caused a public storm in June, when she released an essay warning it risked damaging funding for the world-class medical research she had supported.

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