Brown offensive

Your paper (21 July) covered some erroneous claims (made by Gordon Brown) that co-operation on medical issues like organ transplants and blood transfusions between Scotland and England could be put at risk by independence.

This is simply not the case. The organisation which currently co-ordinates transplants in UK, NHS Blood and Transplant, has already stated that following independence for Scotland it will continue to work across these islands – including the Republic of Ireland.

Indeed, the chief executive does not believe there would be “any significant change” to the management of organ donation and transplantation.

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Scotland’s NHS is already independent and has formal agreements in place to allow patients to be treated in other parts of the UK, and also allow patients from other parts of the UK to be treated in Scotland, based on clinical need. That will continue in an independent Scotland.

Around 7,600 patients from outwith Scotland are treated here each year, and following independence we will continue to care for these people as our friends and neighbours.

Everyone in Scotland has the right to access healthcare in other European countries. No-one is seriously suggesting that doctors and nurses in England will be instructed to turn Scots away if they needed treatment.

By far the bigger danger is that, without constitutional change, we remain subject to Westminster cuts and their potentially debilitating effect on our public services, not least our treasured NHS.

Alex Neil

Cabinet Secretary for Health



Gordon Brown’s latest intervention in the referendum debate, raising fears that organ transplants and blood donations may be at risk after independence, is deeply offensive and totally without foundation.

Not only has the NHS blood and transplant authority already confirmed that current arrangements would continue, there already exist reciprocal agreements with other nations, including the Republic of Ireland. Dr Izhar Khan, consultant nephrologist at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, has previously countered fears, stating that as a kidney specialist he works with professionals across Europe and has no doubt that transplants will continue to be provided on the same basis after independence.

On a different note, in 2013, of all the UK nations, Scotland had the highest rate of organ donor registrations. Initiatives taken by the Scottish Government and transplant authorities have improved awareness.

To prey on the vulnerable and sick with such false claims is stooping to a new low. I would ask Gordon Brown to immediately retract, apologise and allay the fears of families currently on the transplant waiting list and to the wider public.

(Dr) Catriona Pagliari

Consultant radiologist

Greater Glasgow and Clyde