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11 September 2014
‘Yes’ not scaremongering over NHS, says Professor

‘Yes’ not scaremongering over NHS, says Professor

Scots don’t understand the “scale of destruction” that is happening to public services south of the border, a Professor of Public Health Research and Policy has warned.

Speaking to Holyrood magazine, Professor Allyson Pollock of Queen Mary, University of London, said that people in England have had their right to healthcare removed by recent reforms to the health service, as she urged Scots to speak out to have those rights and entitlements restored to their neighbours.

“The problem is that people living in Scotland are in a cocoon. They are in a bubble. They don’t know the reality of what is going on in England, which is extraordinary decimation and destruction of the health service, but also schools, universities – everything. It is really quite scandalous what is happening in England. And the Scottish newspapers don’t report it because they think the people in Scotland aren’t interested. But they need to get interested before September 18th to understand the scale of destruction that is happening.”

Despite accusations in recent weeks, Pollock – who trained in medicine in Scotland and set up and directed the Centre for International Public Health Policy at the University of Edinburgh from 2005-2011 – argues that the Yes Campaign “are not scaremongering” over the future of Scotland’s health service.

“Why would Westminster want to continue to fund an NHS in Scotland when they have actually removed it in England,” she poses.

“It has been called the Abolition Act. It abolished the NHS. The Health and Social Care Act (2012) removed the fundamental rights and entitlements to healthcare and it has reduced the NHS to a funding stream and a logo. And the government is hell-bent on privatising and contracting everything out. So that immediately has implications for Scotland.

“First of all it is a different type of rights, people in Scotland have a right to healthcare where people in England don’t. And secondly, there is going to be a lot less funding.”

However, she also expressed her disappointment that the SNP Scottish Government didn’t do more to challenge the Bill at the time it was progressing through Westminster.

“I really do think all the MSPs in Scotland should have said something. Because we are all interrelated. We all cross borders for work or to see relatives. There are very close ties. So this is like seeing a member of your family having their rights to healthcare removed. Scotland should have spoken out more and didn’t, and we are paying a price.”

For the full interview see Holyrood magazine, out September 15.

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