Monday, 8 September 2014

Healthcare professionals sign open letter prescribing YES as best way to protect NHS

Nearly 70 healthcare professionals from across Scotland have signed an open letter backing a YES vote as the best way to protect the NHS.

The signatories include consultants, GPs, midwives, nurses and academics.

In their letter they say:

'As serving, and former, health and support professionals who care deeply about the future of Scotland’s NHS, we believe its future would be best secured with a Yes vote on 18 September 2014.

'As the healthcare union Unison have warned, the UK Government “…can't run down and privatise our NHS directly, the way they are doing in England. But what they can do is starve it of resources.”

'Through the Barnett formula, every £10 that the NHS in England loses in the future through austerity, privatisation and patient charging, would automatically see Scotland’s budget for public services cut by £1.

'Alastair Darling would have you believe that the warnings of Labour MPs in England about the dire privatised future of NHS England, and the warnings of the Labour Government in Wales about the impact of Tory cuts to their NHS, should be ignored in Scotland.

'However, even his own Scottish Labour MP colleagues have highlighted their fears about the impact of Westminster’s plans for the NHS here in Scotland.

'Scottish Labour MPs Katy Clark and Sandra Osborne have bother raised concerns over the potential impact in Scotland of the Health and Social Care Act, while form Labour Minister Ann McKechin MP warned previously

“Although management of NHS Scotland has been successfully devolved for over a decade it does not exist in a vacuum and I believe it is inevitable that changes affecting 85% of patients in the UK will put pressures on the devolved nations…Now, as spending cuts loom large I worry about what lies ahead for NHS both here in Scotland and throughout the UK."
'Westminster is wedded to further and deeper austerity, with at least £25 billion more cuts to public spending planned by the Tories.

'To put that in context, in the event of No vote this would see Scotland’s budget for public services slashed further by Westminster, by around 10% over the next few years.

'Cuts of 10% to NHS frontline spending would have a devastating impact on the service. The largest single area of expenditure in the NHS is staffing, and the largest proportion of this is our vital nursing staff. A cut in the region of 10% could potentially see the NHS lose over 4,000 nurses.

'Without independence the fate of the NHS will always be tied to a broken Westminster system which is undermining public services and bolstering private profits.

'With a Yes vote we can enshrine the NHS as a publicly-owned institution, serving the people of Scotland, free at the point of need.

'Help protect Scotland’s help service for generations yet to come, vote Yes on 18 September.'

Today, Dr Willie Wilson, co-founder and chair of NHS for Yes - a group of more than 300 healthcare professional campaigning for a Yes vote - welcomed the latest declaration.

He said:

'It is becoming increasingly clear to both people who work in the NHS and those who depend on it that a Yes vote is the only sure way of protecting our public health service from Westminster's austerity agenda and the knock-on impact from the privatisation programme that is already running rampant in in the NHS in England.

'When so many eminent healthcare professionals - both the signatories to this open letter and our members in NHS for Yes - are making these points it is wise to listen. We cannot afford to risk our health service with a No vote.'
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