Scottish NHS under threat from Cameron

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HEALTH reforms from David Camerons’ government pose threat to the NHS north of the border according to expert.

The Scottish health service is likely to follow the English into a privatised health care system as pressure is applied from Westminster.

Professor Allyson Pollock, Director of the Centre for International Public Health Policy at Edinburgh University, said: “There are huge American private health companies desperate to move into health care in England.

“Patients could find themselves paying for care they got free previously.

“How long will Scotland and Wales manage to stand alone?

“The English Health bill proposes to dismantle and privatise the NHS in England and refashion it along American lines.

“The Government want to hand over £80-£100 billion to GP commissioners but these new bodies will not be run by GPs because they don’t have the time or expertise … and in come the private companies.”

She added: “The GP-appointed private commercial companies will decide how and where the money goes and bring in more private companies and decide on the limits to NHS care.

“Their loyalty will lie with shareholders not patients.

Scottish Government health minister, Nicola Sturgeon stated last week that the Scotland would not take on the same reforms that had taken place south of the border.

She said: “We have no plans to mirror the plans being proposed in England.  In Scotland, our emphasis is on building a health service that is publicly run and publicly accountable and which has quality at its heart.”

However, the British Medical Association shares the concerns of Professor Pollock.  Dr Brian Keighly, chairman of the BMA in Scotland said: “We believe that the reforms proposed in England will open the NHS up to private provision and we fear that at a time when spending needs to be restrained, these reforms are being pushed ahead without any evidence that they will save money or improve patient care.

“The NHS in England is diverging significantly from the other devolved nations and we are concerned that there may be some issues arising should these reforms go ahead.

“There may be implications for UK wide contracts and for medical education and training which operate in a UK context.”