New BMA Scotland chair elected

Dr Peter Bennie appointed to succeed Dr Brian Keighley

by Aug 27, 2014 No Comments
peterbennie3 Scotland’s doctors have today elected Dr Peter Bennie to represent them as the chair of BMA Scotland. Bennie, a Glasgow-based consultant psychiatrist, is a former chair of the BMA’s Representative Body who also served as chair of the BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee in both Scotland and the UK. Dr Bennie, aged 51, said he is “immensely proud” to be elected as chair of the BMA in Scotland. “It is a great honour to represent and lead my profession at such a unique time in Scotland’s constitutional history,” he said. “However, regardless of the outcome of the referendum in September, there are pressing issues in our NHS that must be addressed, especially the future structure of training for doctors and the current recruitment problems across general practice and hospital...
Lies, damn lies, and statistics

Tempers flare in the referendum debate on health

by Aug 22, 2014 1 Comment
00010 Lies, damn lies, and statistics. Accusations of the former and a choice selection of the latter have been slung by both sides this week in relation to the future of the NHS. While much of referendum campaign has centred on issues such as the economy, currency and Europe, in the final month the SNP has sought to shift the focus to the future of Scotland’s health service. It is an issue close to people’s hearts so it didn’t take long for tempers to flare. During a statement to parliament earlier this week, Health Secretary Alex Neil described how a ‘no’ vote in the September referendum would present a “disturbing” prospect and put our health service at “serious risk.” “The consequences of a no vote would be reduced budgets as a result of privatisation, patient...
Talking point: Falling out

How the independence debate has broken a health consensus

by Aug 20, 2014 No Comments
Tom When I took on the health portfolio in September, I was surprised by how much cross-party agreement there was in health beyond the shouting of the debating chamber. As the Health and Sport Committee took evidence from what seemed like every professional and third sector body in the land, it felt very much as if our politicians, when it came to the parliament’s biggest budget, shared the same priorities. In the face of an ageing population putting unprecedented pressures on emergency services and social care, they agreed, services should be integrated, patients should be empowered and treated at home or in a home setting, and centres of excellence should be balanced by good community facilities. Eyes cast south of the border as England’s NHS continued to be...
“Gaping holes” in current social security safety net

Deputy FM responds to expert group report

by Aug 12, 2014 No Comments
Nicola Sturgeon Our social security system is supposed to provide a safety net for us all, but trust in the current system has broken down and “gaping holes” are developing, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament’s Welfare Reform Committee today. The UK Government reforms are taking £6bn out of the Scottish economy, she asserted, adding that the current estimate for mitigating the so-called bedroom tax is now placed at around £40m. Asked about her vision for social security in an independent Scotland, Sturgeon replied: “What concerns me so deeply about what is happening to the social security system in this country just now is that, to put it as charitably as I can, the safety net is developing large gaping holes where lots of people are falling right through....
Another Trident debate

Comment: Scotland's nuclear deterrent and whether it has become a "cynical" referendum tactic

by Aug 07, 2014 No Comments
Trident Nuclear Submarine HMS Victorious (MOD image) By far one of the most emotive arguments put forward for independence is the possibility of being able to rid Scotland of its very own “weapons of mass destruction”. The nuclear deterrent Trident, based at Faslane on the Clyde, allows the UK to be part of an exclusive group of nations, but its presence has long been a source of major contention. Many of the SNP’s members joined up through their association with groups like the CND who argued for ridding the world of nuclear weapons – indeed two of its MSPs John Finnie and Jean Urquhart left the party when it changed its policy over membership of NATO. With only weeks left until the referendum, the Scottish Parliament again found itself debating Trident and how independence would remove it from Scotland – and by association from...
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