Westminster threat to Scotland’s health budget

MSP for the South of Scotland Aileen McLeod today (Wednesday) highlighted future funding threats to Scotland’s health budget arising from the Westminster Government’s privatisation of the NHS south of the border which could lead to cuts of more than £1 billion a year from their health budget over the next five years. If the same cut is mirrored in Barnett consequentials, Scotland stands to lose more than £100 million each year.

 

Aileen also welcomed the publication of the Scottish Government paper “Scotland’s Future and Scotland’s Health, which outlines the benefits of a Yes vote in September’s referendum for the future of Scotland’s NHS.

 

Aileen commented:

 

“We’re fortunate that the running of the NHS in Scotland is already independent from Westminster, and has followed a very different path to the health service in England since devolution.


“Scotland already has some of the safest hospitals in the world thanks to the Patient Safety Programme – praised by Don Berwick, adviser to President Obama. Waiting times are amongst the lowest ever recorded, and patients in Scotland benefit from free eye tests, free prescriptions and free personal care.

 

“However this progress is threatened by the Westminster Government’s plans to cut more than £1 billion from the English health budget each year until 2019. If those five years of cuts are passed on to Scotland through the Barnett formula, Scotland’s budget could lose more than £100 million each financial year on top of the cuts already imposed as a result of George Osborne’s austerity agenda.


“With a Yes vote, as Scotland’s Future makes clear, all of the health gains of devolution would be protected under independence. In an independent Scotland we will continue to provide high-quality, world leading health and social care to the Scottish people in a way that reflects the founding principles of our NHS; a health service in public hands, free at the point of need.


“Everyone in Scotland should be reassured that the Scottish Government has no intention of following the path of privatisation and so-called reforms being pursued by the UK Government in England, which I believe threaten the very foundations on which the NHS was built.


“Independence will allow us to do more to tackle the scandal that is health inequality. We’re already acting within the powers available to us – for example through a range of measures to tackle Scotland’s difficult relationship with alcohol and regulate tobacco. The Scottish Government document “Scotland’s Future and Scotland’s Health” which was published today gives further information on how Scotland’s health service can benefit from independence and I would recommend for people to read it.”

 

 

Notes to Editors:

 

The Scottish Government’s document Scotland’s Future and Scotland’s Health can be found here:

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2013/12/1358

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