Unhealthy act

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ALAN W Sharpe (Letters, 17 October) claims concerns over ­future NHS funding from Westminster are “nothing more than a cheap political scaremongering stunt” with “no basis in fact”. However, this view runs counter to the “detailed background” which led to these concerns.

The source and substance which led to such concerns being raised were provided by one of the UK’s leading experts on the NHS and its funding.

Allyson Pollock, professor of public health, research and policy at Queen Mary University of London, warned back in August that reforms in the NHS south of the Border, could result in “serious” consequences for ­Scotland by translating into reduced funding through the Barnett ­formula.

Prof Pollock said: “Although people find this extraordinary and can’t believe it, the Health & Social Care Act of 2012, has ­abolished the NHS in England as a universal service. The NHS is reduced to a funding stream and a logo; increasingly all the ­services are going to be contracted to the marketplace.

“It abolished the duty on the Secretary of State for Health to secure and provide comprehensive health care; that is a duty that still holds in Scotland but does not hold in England.”

She argued this would mean public funding could be withdrawn and replaced by private funding, forcing people to either pay or go without treatment.

Prof Pollock criticised politicians in Scotland for not taking more of a stance in opposing the act when it was going through Westminster.

She warned: “Scotland is very vulnerable because of what is happening in England – and any reductions in funding for England will translate through the Barnett formula to Scotland.”

If the English NHS is not ­restored, the consequences for ­Scotland are indeed “serious”, as funding for the NHS in Scotland is allocated through the Barnett formula, so any reduction in NHS funds in England, including those which follow the 2012 act, translate into reduced funding north of the Border. Mr Sharpe should take note.

Dougie Jamieson

Barnton

Edinburgh

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