Category Archives: health

Independence as a protection against NHS privatisation

Jeremy Hunt is Privileged
Jeremy Hunt is Privileged, a photo by Feroze Alam on Flickr.
Most people are hopefully aware that the Scottish NHS and the English are almost completely separate, sharing little more than the name. I have often argued that the Scottish Government ought to rename the Scottish NHS in order to emphasise this fact.

Because of the existing independence of the Scottish NHS, it will hardly be affected at all by Scottish independence (just as the education system and the other fully devolved policy areas). When some unionists say that independence is a threat to the NHS, they are clearly scaremongering.

On the other hand, remaining in the UK is a big threat to the Scottish NHS as we know it.

This is because the English NHS is undergoing privatisation at an alarming pace.

So far, the changes in the English NHS have not affected us too much in Scotland, but if large amounts of expenditure now move from the public to the private sector, it's likely to lead to huge Barnett consequentials, which means that Westminster's block grant to Scotland will fall if the English public sector spends less money.

If the block grant decreases, it's likely to force the Scottish Government to privatise the Scottish NHS along the same lines as what is already happening in England.

Better Together and the unionist parties need to tell us how they are planning to allow the Scottish Government to maintain the Scottish NHS. Will they ensure that the changes to the English NHS won't affect the block grant?

If they won't guarantee this, they should admit that the Scottish NHS is safer in the hands of an independent Scotland.

Healthy life expectancy

Lou & Andy hanging by the OTB in Whitechapel
Lou & Andy hanging by the OTB in Whitechapel, a photo by TheeErin on Flickr.
There was an interesting article in The Guardian about healthy life expectancy a couple of days ago:

People in the UK enjoy fewer years of good health before they die than the citizens of most comparable European countries as well as Australia and Canada. [...] In the UK, we can expect 68.6 healthy years of life.

These 68.6 healthy years have to be compared to the fact that the state pension age in the UK is planned to rise to 68 years by 2046.

Because these figures are averages, the implication is that there will be a large group of people who will start to suffer from ill health years before they can retire.

What are we going to do about these people? Do we expect 67-year-olds with arthritis or dementia to be stacking the shelves in Asda? Will the government make it easier to get invalidity benefits if you're at least 60 years old and chronically ill?

I would definitely trust the Scottish Government more to come up with a humane solution than Westminster.


NHS Family Planning Advice
Originally uploaded by Firefalcon

There is no single health service in the UK. People speak about the NHS, but it's actually four different organisations in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

I think using the same name is unhealthy. It means the English find it illogical that they aren't getting the same treatment in England as is provided by NHS Scotland.

So the four services should be renamed. They already have different logos, so surely that wouldn't be too hard.