South of Scotland MSP Dr Aileen McLeod has backed the views of one of Scotland’s top surgeons after he urged people in Scotland to vote Yes to save the NHS.
Dr Philippa Whitford warned that future budget cuts from Westminster would put the health service at risk in the event of a No vote.
As reported today, Dr Whitford - a consultant breast cancer surgeon - has spoken out against the privatisation of the health service south of the border, and made clear that a Yes vote in September is the only way to protect Scotland’s NHS budget from Westminster’s cuts agenda.
The SNP said this week: “While we have protected Scotland’s health service in government, it is estimated that 50 per cent of the NHS in England will be run by private companies by 2020 – the consequences of which would see massive cuts in the Scottish budget, putting vital services at risk.
“In contrast, the Scottish Government is clear that after a Yes vote, the NHS in Scotland will remain in public hands – delivering high quality care free at the point of need.
Dr Whitford’s intervention is reported on the day that the Nuffield Trust think tank warned that the NHS in England may no longer be free at the point of use in ten years – echoing previous concerns raised by Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham who said that the UK Government’s “mission to run down the National Health Service” could see an end to free universal healthcare.
Dr McLeod said: “These comments from a top surgeon and breast cancer specialist bring the choice of two futures facing Scotland in September into stark focus – with a Yes vote we can protect and invest in our NHS, whereas a No vote would see it hit by the impact of Westminster cuts to the Scottish budget.
“By 2020, around half of the NHS in England will be run by private companies – but people in Scotland totally reject Westminster’s ideological obsession with privatisation.
“With devolved powers over health, the Scottish Parliament has managed to protect our NHS from the Tories’ privatisation agenda, which was started by Labour – but as Dr Whitford points out, the consequential cuts to the Scottish budget from Westminster in the event of a No vote would put real pressure on our NHS.
“With a Yes vote we can ensure that not only will Tory privatisation of the health service be stopped at the border - but that our NHS remains properly funded and stays true to its founding principle of delivering vital care to people in Scotland free at the point of need.”