Monday, March 12, 2012

SNP MSP Nicola Sturgeon says UK reforms are threat to Scots NHS; it’s time that Scots hospitals were allowed to raise revenue doing private ops

Dear All

Last weekend saw the SNP host their Spring Conference in the City of Glasgow.

During a conference speech Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said to delegates that Scotland’s health budget could be hit by changes being proposed by the UK Government.

Health is a flagship SNP policy which is protected by the Scottish Government, but as Westminster pushes through its planned changes, there will be a knock on effect for Scotland.

The problem that those reforms bring are financial, as England moves more towards the private sector, this creates an in balance.

The Deputy First Minister admitted this is a "very real risk" to the Scottish NHS.

If hospitals in England decide to allow up to 49% of their beds and operating theatre time treating private patients, funding will be lower, that will affect Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon stated on the private sector that:

“we will never go down that road."

That was a mistake, good deals are where you find them, since there is a liquidity problem; it would be irresponsible to shutdown a possible revenue stream which could be used to fund Scotland’s NHS.

The NHS should be state controlled and always state controlled but it is time to move away from dogma.

She said:

"As hospitals in England get more of their money from private patients, I believe that we will see future UK Governments freeze or reduce public funding for the NHS. They will still claim that NHS funding is protected, but the reality will be that less of it will come from the public purse."

Ms Sturgeon added:

"Devolution allows us to protect the principles of our NHS. But if we want to make sure that Tory health policies can't damage our health service in any way, we need independence."

In a hard-hitting speech, Ms Sturgeon also attacked Westminster policies which she said would hit the vulnerable badly.

She also added:

"Only independence can stop Westminster governments squandering our energy wealth while our older folk struggle to pay their heating bills. Only independence can put a stop to heartless Tory welfare reforms that will punish the vulnerable and the disabled. And only independence will give us the tools we need to rid Scotland of the poverty and deprivation that still scars our nation and create the jobs and opportunities that will get people off benefits, not for Tory reasons, but for the right reasons."

Does Ms. Sturgeon actually believe everything can be solved by an independent Scotland?

She boldly states that if Scotland was independence we would be rid of poverty and deprivation.

Is there evidence to back up her claim?


If we look at the world, we see that many independent countries even within the EU are experiencing real savage austerity cuts that fuels poverty and deprivation.

Can she name a country where no citizen lives in poverty and deprivation?

Hundreds of countries in the world, I am just looking for one from her.

Her speech is a speech to her own audience, everything will not be solved by independence but some things will improve.

Even within the positive message there has to be losers such as military shipbuilding which if the British Government doesn’t continue to build in Scotland will collapse, Britain doesn’t outsource warship building.

When Nicola Sturgeon attacked Westminster governments squandering our energy wealth while our older folk struggle to pay their heating bills, was she saying that a Scottish Government will pay the heating bills of the elderly?

Did she seriously commit to that?


In law the most successful cases all have a common thread running through them, the truth the whole and nothing but the truth, until the SNP are prepared to put the pros and cons of independence, they are in danger of letting others pick apart their arguments and mock them.

And as Ms. Sturgeon knows, there is no news like bad news, which is why soap operas are so popular.

I never heard her speech in full, she might have thought she was talking to the masses but she was actually just talking to her own crowd.

I would like to see her try sell the end to poverty and deprivation line to people in Possil, Easterhouse, Pollok, Bridgeton, Drumchapel, Nitshill, Govan, Castlemilk and Calton.

The people there know what everyone else in the western world knows; no country independent or not has put an end to poverty and deprivation for its citizens.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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