SNP should be “condemned” for NHS comments, says MSP

LibDem MSP Jim Hume said the SNP should be “condemned” for its scaremongering over the NHS.

In a letter to the editor received today, Mr Hume said he was “exasperated” with the recent comments over the future of the NHS.

He said: “It has been exasperating listening to the First Minister’s disingenuous comments on the future of the NHS in Scotland, and I’m afraid I cannot sit back and watch the Yes campaign trot out yet another cynical marketing strategy based on falsehoods and scare tactics.

Alex Salmond claims that falls in funding to the NHS in England would have a knock on effect here. However, he purposefully neglected to say that the NHS in England has received more money, not less, under every single UK Government for decades.

The share of UK national income spent on the NHS has doubled during the last 50 years. The coalition government has even succeeded in protecting the NHS budget in England during some of the most challenging of economic circumstances. As a consequence of these consistent increases, the Scottish Government has benefited from more than £1 billion extra to spend on health here.

The SNP proclaimed in its 2011 manifesto that, “the Scottish Parliament has responsibility for the health service and that means we can protect NHS budgets.” What has changed since then? The answer is nothing, except the Yes campaign’s need to resort to peddling myths in a desperate attempt to sway voters on 18th September.

I am proud of our publicly-owned, publicly-funded health service that provides exceptional care at the point of delivery to those who need it. However, the greatest threat to our NHS budget comes doesn’t come from the rising health spend elsewhere in the UK. Instead, it comes from the £6 billion worth of additional cuts the highly-respected and independent Institute for Fiscal Studies believes an independent Scotland would have to implement.

A recent survey conducted by the British Medical Journal showed that 60 per cent of Scotland’s doctors are planning to say ‘No Thanks’. They aren’t being bullied by the First Minister’s scaremongering and your readers shouldn’t be either. Whilst we all welcome a robust debate, the SNP should be roundly condemned for continuing to use the NHS and its hard working staff as a political pawn in their independence campaign.”