MSP CONDEMNS SCAREMONGERING ON CROSS-BORDER HEALTHCARE AGREEMENTS

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Local MSP Joan McAlpine has condemned the Conservatives for keeping
reassurances on cross-border healthcare hidden.

Last week a freedom of information request revealed a letter from the
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) service confirming that cross-border
healthcare agreements will remain in force after Scotland becomes
independent.

The letter was sent to Tory MSP Nanette Milne in August 2013 but was not
made public by the Conservatives at any point.

It states that:

“NHSBT would expect this reciprocal agreement to continue if Scotland
does agree to independence as the arrangement offers additional security
to all four blood services.”

It also confirms that “NHSBT has representation on the Scottish
Transplant Group and, in addition to this, senior members of NHSBT have
regular discussions with Scottish Government officials. From these
discussions I can confirm that NHSBT and Scottish Government do not
believe that there would be any significant change to the relationship
or the management of organ donation and transplantation in the event of
independence.”

The NHS Blood and Transplant service and its counterparts in other parts
of the UK already work closely with the Irish Health Service Executive –
showing cross-border cooperation already operates well in practice.

Commenting Ms McAlpine said:

“The NHS Blood and Transplant service makes it perfectly clear that they
expect the reciprocal arrangement with NHS Scotland that currently
exists to continue after Scotland becomes independent.

“Particularly In the south of Scotland, it is to be expected that
constituents will have questions regarding cross border arrangements
with our English neighbours.

“However – far from making the NHSBT’s entirely sensible reassurances
public back in August – the Tories have instead chosen to continue
scaremongering on this issue in recent months, preying on people in the
south of Scotland in an attempt to win votes for the No campaign by
spreading fear and doubt.

“My constituents deserve a higher level of debate, not to mention as
much information as possible, so it is disappointing to say the least
that the anti-independence parties did not want this reassurance made
public.

“I hope that they will now welcome the certainty that the NHSBT has
given to NHS patients on both sides of the border.”