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.