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Independents' Day

BMA calls for public debate on NHS after Scotland shuns independence

Politicians must refocus on the long-term sustainability of the NHS and make patient care a ‘priority’ in the wake of the Scottish independence referendum which saw the ‘No’ campaign secure 55% of the votes, the BMA has said.

Dr Peter Bennie, chairman of the BMA in Scotland, said there needed to be an ‘honest debate’ on the future of the country’s health service in the midst of a recruitment crisis, an ageing population and falling NHS budgets.

‘Hard-pressed NHS services in hospitals and communities are running on the goodwill of doctors and staff,’ said Dr Bennie. ‘ This is not a sustainable solution for the NHS in Scotland.  It is time to have an honest, public debate about the future of our NHS and how we can continue to deliver high-quality care within financial constraints.’

Dr Bennie stressed that, with health being devolved, the NHS can continue to focus on co-operation across the health service in Scotland, rather than the approach being taken in England of ‘competition and commercialisation’.

‘Although the outcome of the referendum has been determined, the as yet undefined offers of further devolution of powers to Scotland may have a significant impact on our health service,’ he added.

Writing exclusively for Pulse, Dr Alan McDevitt, chair of the BMA’s Scottish GPC and a GP in Clydebank, said that now was the time for the Government to urgently address the issues facing GPs that were ‘threatening the quality of care that we can provide to our patients’.


Readers' comments (3)

  • It is a relief that Sots voted to stay in the Union. However, there is no room for complacency as we do not know the scale of NO votes that came in due to last minute pledges from Westminster. Scots will want changes and and so will the other nations. NHS reforms (or reform reversals)on their own will have a major impact on the politics of this country in the coming decades. So let's sit back with fingers crossed and let good sense prevail as action hasn't brought us any outcomes.

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  • Read 'Scots' - my apologies for the error

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  • Vinci Ho

    (1) As a Chinese man in Liverpool ( love Sting's song 'Englishman in New York') , I did not see myself having a right to say Yes or No about this referendum. But I only believe it represented a historical moment : A 'country' underwent an entirely democratic process peacefully , with no bloodshed , to determine its future . Over 80% of the registered voters came out to vote( some poll station reported 100%) . This is democracy of the highest level( in contrast to what Putin tried to do in Eastern Ukraine ). The process was a noble one.
    (2) Towards the end of the campaign , a genuine fear and paranoia was generated in Westminster. It was too obvious this government was panicking a 'Yes' result could easily bring on a total bankruptcy of trust and credibility on this Coalition. Simply , Darth Vader et al was complacent.
    (3) The result was probably 'fair' as I suspect many people had to make a compromise between their thought in the head and the passion in the heart. But as Nick Robinson said this is not the end and in fact , this is only a new beginning .
    (4) 55% say No , 45% say Yes. This is completely different from 80 or 90% say No , 10 or 20% say Yes. Things have to be changed -- the Constituition will have to be rewritten in certain parts . In a time with 8 months away from a General Election, these politicians have to at least pretend that they are listening . That's what I call the 'best' time to pin them down to write something in black and white.
    (5) Darth Vader had to say what he said about devolving more powers away . To me, five years down the road , his party is now under threat from Labour in the front, UKIP from the back and of course the enemy sleeping with it, called Liberal Democrat. It is time to protect his own reputation drifting away from his shameless government .
    (6) One happy man is called GB, he said he was not young nor old for more front line politics. Well, this result certainly has given him a lot of opportunities . What is his next move will be entirely driven by political climate or circumstances . Never believe every word of a politician who has been around long enough.
    (7) So question is what is this power to be devolved? More importantly how can this power be exercised at local level. With this result, many local leaders are already trying to exploit the situation , asking for more power in various parts of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Is there really a genuine consideration of a 'big country' with multiple federal states?
    (8)The implication of this ideology could open serious debate about NHS and social welfares. We , for long, have been complaining a 'one size fits all' Londonian model in policy making in NHS. And we have been debating all this time about how to raise funding for NHS and general practice . Fees or no fee, so called semi-private, etc . The bottom line is still whether it can be afforded by a 'state' or more importantly patients themselves. The whole thing needs a very , very careful thinking through . I am no expert in US politics but wonder which part of America is actually benefiting from Obama's health reforms and which part is better off sticking to the old way.
    (9) Sun Yat Sen , father of Modern China, on the day he died, said ,'the revolution is not yet completed , all my comrades must struggle on'......

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