The world's most-read Scottish politics website

Wings Over Scotland

Neither national nor collective

Posted on April 10, 2014 by

It’s late, but we couldn’t let this one pass.


Heavens, where do we start?


We have more in common that unites us than divides us across the United Kingdom. Our shared culture is underpinned by the UK’s shared institutions, including our National Health Service.”


The NHS is in no sense whatsoever a “shared UK institution”. The Scottish NHS was set up in 1947 as a completely separate organisation, and has always remained so. There are now four independent health services in the United Kingdom – the Scottish, English and Welsh Health Services, and in Northern Ireland the HSC, which is not only independent but has a different brief, also covering social care.

There is not, and never at any point in history has there been, a “UK NHS”.

“Health is devolved to the Scottish Parliament”


Health is indeed controlled by the Scottish Parliament, but the implication is that such a state of affairs came about through devolution. It didn’t – as noted above, the Scottish NHS was independent for half a century before the Parliament was reconvened in 1999.

“but our NHS still benefits from being part of the bigger UK”


Increasing privatisation in England means that as public spending on the English NHS falls, so does the Scottish block grant, which is calculated as a percentage of English spending. There’s actually no direct correlation anyway – Scottish NHS funding isn’t ring-fenced within the block grant, so even if English spending doubled there’d be no guarantee that the Scottish service would benefit.

“The progress we have made in improving the health of people in Scotland is an example of the success of the Scottish Parliament, with spending on hospitals, healthcare and medical research backed up by the strength and security of the UK economy.”


See above. The only way it could be argued that the Scottish Parliament was responsible for improvements is if it was accepted that it was better at managing its budget and spending it on things people in Scotland wanted (such as free prescriptions and hospital parking). Which is an argument for Scottish matters being controlled in Scotland, not at Westminster.

The UK economy is a bankrupt basket case incapable of backing up anything.

“Here in Scotland our NHS hospitals are part of a bigger UK system”


Simply completely and utterly untrue. The Scottish, English, Welsh and Northern Irish healthcare systems are totally separate, but co-operate so well with each other that it appears seamless – an excellent argument that the “social union” will be retained even if the political Union is ended.

The systems on either side of the border just aren’t the same. Some drugs and treatments are available in Scotland but not in England, and vice versa. You have to pay for prescriptions in Carlisle but not in Dumfries. In short, the NHS – as a matter of unarguable empirical fact – is NOT one collective shared system. Your entitlements and your contributions both vary with your postcode.

“where specialist care is available cost-free and hassle-free”


This is not a function of the UK, but of Europe-wide reciprocal arrangements which would not change if Scotland became independent.

“We get great treatment because our doctors and nurses are backed by UK funding into medical research, meaning we get some of the most advanced treatment in the world.”


Medical research funding goes where the expertise is, and is not governed in any way by political issues. As Rick Rylance, director of Research Councils UK, put it: grants are awarded on the basis of open competition and decided through peer review by appropriate expert researchers on a project-specific basis. They are thus not allocated on the basis of location, either geographic or political”.

Nurse! This patient is circling the drain!

Frankly, the only more bizarre and ludicrous thing “Better Together” could use as an argument for the Union than the NHS would be to say “Look, it’s thanks to the UK that you’ve got great politicians like Alex Salmond”. We look forward to that one.

Print Friendly

    114 to “Neither national nor collective”

    1. J. R. Tomlin says:

      You didn’t mention what I consider the MOST bizarre (although admittedly not most inaccurate) part of that.

      The headline is “Do you work in the NHS? Sign up to be part of NHS Together” which implies that they think that NHS nurses and doctors are going to come running saying how marvellous they think the privitisation of England’s NHS is and are champing to join right up.

      Really? They think that? *boggle*

    2. Geoff Huijer says:

      How are they allowed to put out blatant lies like this?

      It’s an absolute disgrace!

    3. Calum Craig says:

      As someone who has transferred from the Scottish NHS to the English NHS, I would definitely question that they are seamless. When we arrived in England we might as well have descended from Mars- our records were not transferred and we started from a completely blank slate.

    4. Murray McCallum says:

      I don’t think NHS privatisations together will be a vote winner.

      the people dreaming this up must either work for BUPA or live in some kind of parallel universe.

    5. E ROBINSON says:

      Regardless of what lies are put out I have found NHS workers to be the most difficult to sway to YES ?

    6. Grouse Beater says:

      Difficult to believe those statements eminate from the official Better Together camp … until you remember their entire charge is based on falsehoods and exaggeration.

      Now they put lies in writing.

      Lying so long a man comes to believe his deceit.

    7. Doug says:

      I just posted on my FB in response to the Better Together mailshot I received today…it’s a bit O/T but I DID mention the NHS in there 🙂 Enjoy…

      “I received my first Better Together mailshot through the door today. I was extremely disappointed. While it was a nice touch with the letter, pretending it was written by a working mum with three kids, the lies and scare stories were months out of date.

      No. 1 was that old favourite “Losing the Pound”, despite the fact that any country on the planet can use the Pound as it’s currency should it so wish as Sterling is a fully tradable currency.

      Next we had the UK backing for the RBS, conveniently omitting to mention that a) the RBS crash originated within it’s London-based casino-style operations; b) RBS is regulated by the UK Treasury, not the Scottish Government and c) it was bailed out chiefly by the US Federal Reserve, to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars, to protect it’s banking operations there.

      Finally, we had the one about the Supermarkets putting prices up in an independent Scotland, despite those who made the original quotes admitting that price rises were an issue unconnected with the independence debate.

      Not one single positive case for the Union in the entire mailshot! Why? Because they can’t make one. A “No” vote is a vote for the status quo (minus whatever they take away from us as a punishment for holding a referendum in the first place). The status quo means we’ll still be treated as voting fodder by the Labour Party, while still getting a Conservative/New Labour government that we didn’t vote for. It also means we’ll continue to be used as a dumping ground for Westminsters “penis-extension” nuclear weapons (and the nuclear waste from elsewhere if Westminster gets its way). It means that we’ll still be saddled with fiscal policies tailored for London and the south-east that don’t work for us here. It means our NHS budget will be cut to the point where privatisation is forced upon us.

      On the other hand, a Yes vote will finally make our votes matter; it will enable us to play our own positive part within the international community; it will enable the Scottish Labour and Conservative parties to break free from their rotten-to-the-core UK parents and find their true beliefs again within an independent Scotland; It will rid us of nuclear weapons (and Westminsters nuclear waste); It will enable us to develop our own fiscal policies to stimulate business growth, get people back into work again, and make our society much fairer; It will enable us to keep our treasured public services public; it will enable us to make much better use of our natural resources as we progress our vision of self-sustainable renewable energy.

      As everyone knows, I’m firmly in support of an independent Scotland. However, I’m not asking people who are thinking about voting “No” to simply believe what I say. I’m just urging them to please research the facts for themselves and don’t just believe what’s spun to you by the newspapers and the BBC. The Better Together mailshot was right about one thing – our children and grandchildren will have to live with our decision for years after today’s politicians are long gone. Please let’s just make the effort to make this decision based on as many facts as we can, and not on the negativity and scare tactics of those with vested interests.”

    8. David Agnew says:

      The sickening thing is that the only ones who have the opportunity to destroy the NHS in Scotland is labour, not the Tories, we don’t trust them on the NHS. I t would take the combined treachery of UK labour and Scottish labour to ruin it all. Scottish labour are basically fredo corleone, ready to do the dirty deed. They’re weak and stupid and stupid people are the most dangerous of all.

    9. Midgehunter says:

      It’s funny how BT never seem to think these things through. Most folks have been brainwashed into thinking there is only one UK NHS, remember the London Olympics…

      YES and Wings now have the perfect chance to send a broadside of information into the pack of lies surrounding the NHS.

    10. joe kane says:

      I’m looking forward to joining similar BT groups such as Trident Missiles Together, Austerity Together and Foreign Invasions Together.

    11. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      NHS Scotland for YES …

    12. RogueCoder says:

      Damn near pished myself laughing when this BT ad surfaced, and practically soiled myself at the Rev’s deconstruction.

      However…. for the initiated it may be a complete joke and act of wild hypocrisy, but for those casual and disengaged observers of politics (i.e the public at large) who don’t know the background, this kind of propaganda can be dangerous. It needs to be countered quickly, lest it seep into the minds of undecideds who think that the NHS is a national body funded solely out of Westminster.

      In other words, take Rev’s words and spread far and wide on social media and to whom anybody who asks. Stop the lie before it gets its boots on.

    13. geeo says:


      That seems a bit strange when the NHS in Scotland is under SG control?

      I am not in any way doubting you by the way, it is just strange as it is not likely to get any more funding (nhs)in the event of a No vote..

    14. Ian Brotherhood says:

      I’m not suggesting anyone here is guilty, but please, please, convey this swift note to anyone who abuses Crosshouse Hospital parking to get a freebie before jumping on the bus to the day job in Kilmarnock:

      Despite the constant expansion of parking spaces at Crosshouse, more is having to be built because you selfish so-and-so’s think you’re ‘smart’ (saving what, £20 a week?) by occupying spaces meant for staff and visitors.

      You people are paving the way for privatisation of Scotland’s Health Service, and you’re making life very difficult for people who are ill, and those trying to help the ill. Your behaviour is unconscionable.

      In the past couple of months I’ve been in and out of that hospital so often that I honestly couldn’t even guess how much time was wasted driving around, around, around, waiting for a space to become available. If NHS Scotland is forced to start charging, it’s because of you – just stop it.

    15. Jon D says:

      @Calum Craig

      As someone who has transferred from the English NHS to the Scottish NHS, I would definitely confirm that they are seamless. When I arrived in Scotland I might as well have moved round the corner – my records were transferred within the 4 week request period.

      Have to disagree with you, sorry.

    16. Doug Daniel says:

      Imagine if Scotland actually voted No. The kind of morons who make this stuff up would be able to put on their CV “part of the team that successfully kept Scotland in the UK”, even though it would have happened despite them, rather than because of them.

      Let’s make sure Blair McDougall’s CV continues to be one big litany of failure.

    17. Alex Grant says:

      Great stuff Stu but I’m afraid it epitomizes the ignorance of many of the recipients of BT’s message? I hear lots of people in the Scottish Health service don’t even understand the facts you allude to? Another example I’m afraid of people saying they don’t have the facts when it appears they can’t be bothered educating themselves I have to say I would have thought that the Scottish NHS would be educating their staff. But when I see how feart the Scottish Education sector is at attempting to ‘educate’ the kids who are about to vote in the referendum – about the referendum – I’m not surprised!

    18. geeo says:


      Maybe that says more about the Scottish health service than the English health service ?

    19. Doogi Bee says:

      I was going to write a comment..but Doug at 11.49 just about covered everything in his excellent comment.. I agree with everything he says…xxx

    20. Jingly Jangly says:

      I had an appointment with a consultant last week in Glasgow he seemed puzzled why I was wearing YES (And Proud Cypernat) badges on both my Jacket and Jumper, he was non committal but I got the impression that he was onside.

      Well you don’t normally have a big smile on your face when your discussing the oppositions badges do you?

      Stu, just ran your comments on above Better Together NHS lies past a fence sitting relative who works in NHS and they agree with what you have said.

    21. Clootie says:

      I had a debate with a diehard Labour supporter a few months ago. When I made the point about Scotland having a separate NHS he said “nonsense, it’s the NHS” and stormed off.

      A) People do not understand it is separate.
      B) They do not understand the Barnett consequentialism of privatisation in England.

      The BT team will continue to manipulate the truth in this manner and the media turns a blind eye to this behaviour.

    22. Red Squirrel says:

      @calum craig – all Scottish GP records are electronic from 2006 and transfer within a few days of registration. GP notes from other UK countries can take several months to arrive at your new practice. Unless of course they’ve lost them. Hospital notes don’t usually transfer.

      A new low for BT. RCGP are warning of the extinction of GP services in England, thanks to years of Labour and Tory privatisation. NHS Scotland is committed to zero privatisation thanks to the Scottish Govt, OK SNP govt since SLAB made no such commitment.

      Take a good look at the graphic – UK together = sticking plaster, not exactly a great advert for their abilities but perhaps appropriate.

    23. Calum Craig says:

      @Jon D

      I didn’t mean that it never happened but it certainly didn’t happen for us. We were basically treated as new patients with no records at all- I asked about our history in Scotland and was told that “it was a different system we have no access to”…

      Maybe it was just the particular NHS trust we used- I would certainly like to think so.

    24. The Man in the Jar says:

      I am sure that I read something somewhere in the comments on a NHS related article on this site some time ago. There was a lot of anecdotal evidence than many people who actually work in the Scottish NHS don’t understand that the Scottish NHS is a completely separate organisation.

      Could Labour be playing on this? Do they think that they can still get away with crap like this?

    25. Jon D says:


      Totally agree.

      Having worked in the English NHS, I can vouch for the excessive bureaucracy, target driven mentality and resultant low moral. The Scottish NHS is a breath of fresh air in comparison; progressive, supportive and socially inclusive with a correspondingly improved morale.

      Most Scots, though appreciative of their NHS, don’t yet know how stark the differences are. In my opinion the vote on the 18th Sept is a vote to save Scotland’s NHS as much as anything/everything else.

    26. Calum Craig says:

      I can only add anecdotal evidence but I can contrast my A&E experiences in both countries and have to say that going to the Scottish hospital we visited when my daughter injured her head was a far more pleasant experience than when we likewise visited A&E down here when she dislocated her elbow.

      While the service in England was in fairness pretty good, what we experienced in Scotland was definitely superior. She was even sent home with a free book!

      Given that I am only comparing one visit in each country, the difference could easily be accounted for time of year/ day/ staff present/ any number of other factors etc so I’m not going to make any conclusions. Just saying like.

    27. Thoughtsofascot says:

      If NHS workers dont know the facts about their own organisation it just goes to show the effects of labours disasterous near total control of the Scottish public sector for 40 years.

    28. Doug says:

      @Alex Grant & @The Man in the Jar: I know for a fact that there are rumours being spread around the Scottish NHS that they receive additional funding from the NHS in England which would cease upon independence, thereby putting their jobs at risk. I’m sure many won’t believe that but I know one or two who do. I wrote to my MSP about it and he’s passed it to the Alex Neil (Health Secretary) so hopefully that’s one that might be put to rest before the referendum.

      I explained to the people I knew who had believed it that, far from a No vote saving their jobs (in medical records), there was far more chance of their jobs being outsourced in the event of the privatisation that will undoubtedly follow a No vote.

    29. CameronB says:

      Apparently my first words on coming out of a week long coma were…..I need a crap. Apparently, even then I had the self-awareness that there might be a mixed audience. I couldn’t be sure though as my eyes were still spinning. 🙂

      Oh the numpties.


      P.S. I’m here to take the absolute out of Better Together, thanks to the Scottish NHS 😉

    30. Molly says:

      David Agnew,

      We all owe a lot to Labour for when they had their hands on the NHS in Scotland, it’s called PFI .

    31. alistair says:

      Right, have just logged on tonight and for the first time I am going to comment befire my heid explodes. My sister helps run the (apparently shamed if you read the press) Aberdeen midwifery unit complete with all the druggies and nutters they have to deal with in reality. If anyone out there thinks that any NHS person is happy with current situation then they are off their rocker. The staff are desperate for change. At present the block in funding is perceived from the SG rather than Westminster. Where the f is the argument putting us back on the front foot. There are lots of the staff are big yes voters. The high heid yins neeed to give them something to believe in..,
      One very frustrated yes voter….

    32. john king says:

      Doug Danial says
      “part of the team that successfully kept Scotland in the UK”,

      Part of the team that kept Scotland in the dark ages,
      fixed that for you.

      Rev Stu
      worth taking a look at this

      namely this sentence
      “Responsibility for healthcare in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales is devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Assembly Government respectively.”

      The act however clearly refers to England and Wales only (not Scotland)

      “The four publicly funded healthcare systems in the countries of the United Kingdom, may be referred to as the National Health Service (NHS).

      The systems are primarily funded through central taxation. They provide a comprehensive range of health services, the vast majority of which are free at the point of use for people legally resident in the United Kingdom. The four systems are ENTIRELY INDEPENDENT,(my emphasis) and operate under different management, rules, and political authority.[1]

      The individual systems are:

      National Health Service (England)
      Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland (HSCNI)
      NHS Scotland
      NHS Wales
      All services are often referred to as “the NHS”, although only the English NHS is officially called the “National Health Service”. All of the services were founded in 1948, based on legislation passed in 1946, 1947 and 1948. NHS Wales was part of the same structure as England until powers over the NHS in Wales were transferred to the Secretary of State for Wales in 1969, and responsibility for NHS Wales was passed to the Welsh Government under devolution in 1999.”

      who do you believe Bitter together or Aneurin Bevan?

    33. caz-m says:


      Nicola Sturgeon will make a plea to all Scottish Labour voters at the SNP conference to back the YES Campaign.

      So they can “reclaim” their party.

    34. Derec says:

      When talking about the poor state of health services in the UK, Northern Ireland is often glossed over due to the atrocious condition of the NHS down south. NI is quite revealing and provides us with a great comparison for how well the health service in Scotland has been handled under devolution.

      The current health minister in NI, Edwin Poots, has been such a cataclysmic failure that the largest single-issue petition ever against a member of the assembly called for his resignation. The ‘Give Poots The Boot’ campaign seems to be one of the few causes in living memory to actually unite both sides of the community. There are several investigations taking place into multiple deaths that occurred whilst people lay neglected on trolleys in A&E for hours without emergency treatment. Hundreds of people find themselves waiting in A&E in excess of 12 hours each month, and all the while A&E departments across the country are scheduled for closure. Instead of trying to improve services, Poots has devoted his time (and hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money) to bringing legal cases to court to prevent gay men from being able to donate blood as they can elsewhere in the UK, and to prevent unmarried couples adopting children. He has plans to bring back prescription charges too.

      Did I mention that this guy is a young-earth creationist who doesn’t believe in evolution? Seriously.

      The Scottish Government have handled public services in Scotland incredibly well by comparison. Given the larger and more widely distributed population in Scotland, that is no mean feat, particularly when discussing health.

    35. caz-m says:


      Ratings agency Fitch, warn rUK that it’s credit ratings will be affected after a YES vote, if they don’t make the transition as smooth as possible.

      Report from Newsnet Scotland.

    36. caz-m says:


      Ratings agency Fitch, warn rUK that it’s credit ratings will be affected after a YES vote, if they don’t make the transition as smooth as possible.

      Report from Newsnet Scotland.

    37. caz-m says:


      Nicola Sturgeon will make a lea directly to Scottish Labour voters at the SNP conference today.

      She will ask them to “reclaim” their party.

    38. JLT says:

      Seriously …I just don’t get this.

      Better Together know they are lying, so how are they getting away with this? Surely, it’s time for some Scottish Government body to step in and stop this.

      I mean, surely Salmond could hold up a leaflet in the Scottish Parliament, and ask Lamont, Davidson and Rennie to explain how this is so. These lies are not shady grey. These are blatant black lies!

      If the day should be won, I hope these lies, and who was behind them, are laid completely out in front of the public. In the end, and once the truth is out, I would not be surprised if the public didn’t demand criminal investigations into certain parties and their leaders.

    39. caz-m says:

      BBC Scotland’s Glen Campbell thinks that the YES campaign is still a “considerable” way behind the NO vote.

      What polls does this guy look at?

      He will just not admit to the people of Scotland that we are almost at the “parity” point.

      C’mon, just say it Glen.

      The No Campaign is falling apart.

    40. Macart says:

      Utter bullshit from BT start to finish. A government hell bent on dismantling the NHS and we’re meant to feel confident that parties reliant on a Westminster career may one day be back in charge of our own parly?

      I don’t feckin think so. The SNHS is already independent, we just have to follow suit to keep it that way.

    41. Red Squirrel says:

      The reason we must be independent us to have full fiscal control to make financial decisions right for Scotland.

      NHSS funding has never risen in line with actual rising costs – new drugs, more staff and an ageing population are all expensive but the key difference is our social contract is very much driven by what is right for our citizens, not what’s good for private healthcare companies.

      All Scottish health boards struggle financially – we need to have full control over all spending so we can have a joined up approach to health and wellbeing. Welfare, housing, social care, child care and employment are all part of that.

      We know already a NO vote will bring deeper public sector cuts whoever is in WM & NHSS will no longer be able to protect us from these. UK labour win will mean more disastrous PFI and they had a record of creeping privatisation too.

      YES is the only way to preserve our NHS as we believe it should be. A NO is unthinkable.

    42. Ken500 says:

      The Head of the NHS in England has been complaining about the underfunding of the NHS. A & E are at breaking point. ConDems elected to protect NHS and Education are giving tax cuts. They are trying to privatise the NHS in the rest of the UK and charge £10 for an appointment to see the Doctor. More bureaucracy.

    43. Albalha says:

      O/T Yes Dundee fundraiser for adverts on buses.

    44. Thejourneyman says:

      Interesting presentation on Breakfast this morning. NHS performance report from Nuffield and the rep from Nuffield went to great lengths to suggest there were no apparent indicators to differentiate performance in any of the 4 countries. Nothing to show devolution makes any difference. Can there be any connection? NHS better together launches the day prior to this line from Nuffield? I smell another rat. It was interesting how difficult the lady from Nuffield was finding it to talk about the individual NHS responsibility, these people are so comfortable talking NHS England as if it means UK NHS she struggled a bit.
      Definitely something new about to blow up in the face of BT.

    45. MolliBlum says:

      And one more thing. The BT blurb also states:
      “The NHS was a unique invention – we were the first country in the world to establish universal healthcare free at the point of use…”
      … conveniently omitting to mention the fact that it was Scotland that led the way on this, too!
      State-funded, free, universal healthcare had already been established in parts of Scotland 30 years before the NHS came into being. Look up “Sir John Dewar” or “Highlands & Islands Medical Service” to find out more. Wonder whether that was perhaps the model that inspired Nye Bevan.

    46. Grouse Beater says:

      When statements in an official approved document meant for public consumption are so egregiously wrong, to the point of being actionable, the document should be withdrawn and all copies shreddied.

      Does the YES campaign not have a laywer who will drop a wee letter of warning?

    47. Caroline Corfield says:

      I have moved several times within England’s NHS and before devolution back and forth from Scotland and England. I can tell you notes don’t follow you in England, even when it was paper based. I have a friend who has moved doctor within the same city and her notes haven’t followed her. It seems to depend on the practice, what system they’re using and whether where you were are any good at admin to send them on. The education system is just as bad at sending info on children who move.

      My experience of Scottish hospitals is mostly based on last year, I was impressed that the oncologist at Gatnavel could access scans taken at The Southern on her computer, but less so that she couldn’t read the words. I couldn’t imagine the same thing happening where I live which is covered by three separate NHS trusts depending on what kind of service you need.
      Walk-in non serious A&E = Rake Lane at Whitley Bay North Tyneside Trust, outpatient referal from my doctor – Wansbeck General in Wansbeck near Ashington Northumberland Trust, serious surgical A&E – RVI Newcastle The Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

      The Scottish Government got rid of Trusts.

    48. galamcennalath says:

      The problem with blatant lying, like this, is it’s difficult to get the truth across afterwards. The damage can be irreparably done.

      When the NHS here has the same name as the NHS there, a lot of people will already and incorrectly assume it is integrated. The Scottish government should have seen this coming and renamed it to The Scottish Health Service a few years ago. Easy with hindsight.

    49. Stevie says:

      Nice one

    50. Fiona says:

      Without casting doubt on the rest of this article I do wish to take issue with the part about medical research. I think it is important to recognise that what is said about the irrelevance of geographical location is predicated on there being a united kingdom. So far as I know the research councils do not fund research in France or the US without regard to national boundaries.

      It is certainly true that there might be reciprocal arrangements post independence: that makes sense. But I do not underestimate the possibility that the rUK will take a different view, for whatever reason.

      From the point of view of at least some in rUK this looks daft: they see it as another example of Scotland wishing to keep all the good bits and it annoys them. I think that is understandable, but more importantly, I think it is shared by many who live here and intend to vote no. I think they are persuaded that we cannot afford such things as an independent nation, and that this focus on sharing proves that. I do not think it helps the yes case

      Certainly we need to emphasise that the scottish NHS is already a separate institution: that is undeniable and it needs to be understood. It is a strong argument on the yes side

      But research is not a separate institution and if the independence of the NHS is a good argument it follows that the lack of independent research arrangements is an argument for the No side. No point in pretending otherwise: what we need is an outline of how that research will be funded should the rUK choose not to enter a reciprocal arrangement: or a strong demonstration that they already do this with other independent countries. Do they do it with Ireland, for example? I do not know.

      What I really care about is the independence of research and I am concerned that it is increasingly funded by the private sector, with all that entails for academic freedom. We are already far down that road and I would like to see a U turn, on this and all the other moves to private involvement. On this we need a different argument: just my tuppence worth

    51. BigSteveChisholm says:


      The problem with blatant lying, like this, is it’s difficult to get the truth across afterwards. The damage can be irreparably done.

      @ GrouseBeater

      “the document should be withdrawn and all copies shredded”

      “Better Together forced to retract NHS lies” is a headline I would pay good money to read.

      Is this an issue for the Advertising Standards Authority?

    52. cynicalHighlander says:

      ‘Better Together’ was always going to be confusing with the Scottish NHS.

    53. Calum says:

      You could read this that Better Together want to merge the NHS parts in to a single UK entity – No longer NHS Scotland, England, Wales etc. – but NHS UK – no longer devolved to a Scottish Parliament but controlled from Westminster – IE the first step of dismantling the Scottish Parliament in the event of a No vote?

    54. John H. says:

      I must say that I’m proud of the Scottish NHS. A few years ago I lost an argument with a circular saw resulting in my hand being almost totally severed.

      Thanks to the surgeons and nurses at the Royal Infirmary in Glasgow, my hand was restored to 95% function.

      If I had had my accident today in England, I wonder how I would have fared.

    55. HandandShrimp says:

      There was a chap on the BBC HYS spouting this nonsense the other day. Andy I think it was but then as far as I recall he frequently asserts absolute pish as fact and is free and easy with calling others liars. He has been called out a few times with links and evidence posted on HYS to demonstrate he is wrong but he just moves on. Classic behaviour of a professional troll 🙂

      Anyone with even a soupcon of political awareness can see that the various Health Services are indeed separate bodies and run to different policies, budgets, drug approval systems and targets. If they were the same organisation would not Johann not seek to hold Cameron to account for any perceived (or indeed made up) failing? If they were the same why would Andy (presumably a different Andy) Burnham suggest that they should be merged?

      A cursory glance at the origins of the Scottish NHS will also clearly show that it is a separate body set up by an entirely different Act of Parliament.

      Defence and DWP are the same bodies and it is easy to demonstrate that they are the same bodies. The NHS bodies are not. The fact that Better Together are reduced to lying is highly significant. They are desperate.

    56. Edward says:

      Listened to GMS this morning and Glen Campbell spouting on about the SNP conference and made mention of the call to Labour supporters to grasp the opportunity of taking back their party and voting yes. Campbell even came out with ‘Yessnp’ term.

      One thing that BBC GMS made a point of not stating nor interviewing was the Labour for Independence group, perhaps any mention would not be that ‘convenient’

    57. Fiona says:

      If anyone doubts what will happen to the Scottish NHS if we stay in this union, you might find this interesting: it relates to Northern Ireland.

    58. Grouse Beater says:

      Some days ago one of the television newscasters referred to the NHS as “devolved to the Scottish Parliament.”

      When I argued openly with friends in the office NONE thought he had said anything untoward. “But he’s right,” came the ignorant reply from a fellow Scot.

      No, we always have had our own NHS, neither it nor our education system are “devolved”!!!

    59. Desimond says:

      You can be certain of one thing, no-one will be getting better together if folk like Labours Andy Burnham get their way and get to amalgamate the NHS organisations.
      We can all despair and then watch the private ‘providers’ tear it apart at the seams, all in the name of “value for money” and “competition means the customer wins” baloney from the MPs looking to create the impression of a healthier bottom line of course.

      PFI will look like a drop in the ocean if that dark day ever befalls us all within these isles.

    60. Once again,” a lie is halfway around the world, before truth gets it’s pants on”.

    61. Grouse Beater says:

      One thing that BBC GMS made a point of not stating nor interviewing was the Labour for Independence group.

      But they and BBC Television will give UK-national prime time to Farage’s bigotry.

    62. heedtracker says:

      Its all very weird considering how bettertogetherBBC in Scotland, via Eleanor Broadford is it, via Labour’s Jacky Baillie, routinely attack Scottish health care presumably to undermine our confidence as in “look you lot cant even run your own NHS so vote no”

      According to official records for those Health Boards for which information was available, in 2005/6 which was the first year the FoI legislation was enforced, BBC Scotland submitted just 14 Freedom of Information requests. The corporation submitted the same number of requests the following year, 2006/7.

      However, by 2012/13 the number of official requests submitted by the BBC had jumped from 14 to an incredible 109, a seven fold increase.

    63. Desimond says:

      @Grouse Beater

      Its the Bbc..B for Britain meaning England of course.

      Once we get shot of the BBC, imagine never needing to see such folk like Farage or when you do see them, they will not only seem totally irrelevant, as they do now, but they will actually be totally irrelevant.

      We can just watch any coverage of matters “down there” and smile that “oh what they like” smile of a Grandad watching his grandkids happily play in the dirt!

    64. bunter says:

      Also heard about this Nuffield report, who they?, and also saw a nice big D.R front page story on bad NHS treatment of a wee one, shocking if true, and then this BT nonsense.

      All co incidence I am sure.

    65. HandandShrimp says:

      I’m kind of glad that neither of the BBC anchor’s are in Aberdeen. Let’s face it who wants these partisan numpties anywhere near the SNP conference.

    66. Desimond says:


      Havent those requests been linked back to someone linked to the Labour Party. I could be getting mixed up but I believe thats been covered before.

    67. HandandShrimp says:


      If Labour were to return to power in Holyrood you can be sure the BBC would revert back to about 5 FOIs.

    68. memaw says:

      A friend of mine moved from Argyll to Halifax last year. She had been receiving treatment for cancer. Her new doctor told her she would not get the same type of treatment as she had in Scotland as it was too expensive. She was advised to ask for help from a Cancer Charity. They provided the funding for her to continue with the drugs she had received free of charge in Scotland but this took several weeks to sort out. She and her family had no idea of the differences from one country to another.

      My husband has a very rare heart condition. We lived in England when it was diagnosed but moved to Scotland before his treatment was decided. He returned to London for his operation. After the first one went wrong and he had a second one he was told that they had done everything they could. Goodbye and Good Luck!

      By contrast in Glasgow the leading doctor in charge of my husband’s case said that they would keep a very close eye on him, that research was progressing all the time and they would not give up on him. So 10 years on and many other treatments later he is still with us and as happy as a dog with two tails. We have a lot to thank NHS Scotland for and one of the reasons my very English husband and I will be voting YES!

    69. SquareHaggis says:

      All that’s missing here is the “Barrhead” vote Yes and lose your jobs line.
      P.S. Heard UKIP had a boot on the ground in my area yesterday (it ended up being a rather clackety tan coloured slip on shoe LOL) so prepared them a leaflet of my own.
      Got my son to play out front and signal me when the guy hit our driveway, worked a treat. Just as he put his hand on the letterbox I slipped my own message back at him.
      It read (in slow incremental stages, one letter at a time U – K – I – N – P – I – S – S – O – F – F.
      And he did.


    70. Fortbill says:

      The whole point of this to me is that it is so easy to discredit, like most of the other proclamations emanating from the No side. Don’t they realize they are just digging a deeper and deeper hole out of which it will very soon be impossible to extract themselves? Are they so contemptuous of us Scots to think we have not even got the absolute minimum amount of intelligence required to see straight through these feeble attempts at propaganda! Or is it that they have already given up? Or maybe it’s just that they are so unused to being challenged? Whatever is going on I’m starting to get worried, it can’t be this easy ….can it?

    71. heedtracker says:

      HandandShrimp. Desimond, its the BBC “Scots health care is so bad” glee in Eleanor Broadford’s bettertogtherBBC reportage that sticks out like a sore anything.

    72. Les Wilson says:

      I think YES has missed an opportunity here, it was an obvious one to convince for a YES vote. This was mentioned on a tv program some weeks ago obviously BT jumped on the idea.

      Still, ” YES FOR HEALTH” sounds better, got more appeal to hearts and minds. Just saying!

    73. Desimond says:


      These blinkered folk who enjoyed the trappings that came under the ‘glory(huch spit!)’ days of Scottish Labour remind me of the how the prohibition alcohol runners must have felt when they heard their cash cow was coming to an end.

    74. Regardless of the semantics of the organisation of the NHS, a no vote in September will end the cradle to grave care that the organisation provides. Within 20 years we will have people losing their homes because of their children’s medical bills and huge swathes of the country will have no health care at all. The process has started south of the border and a no vote will be their mandate to cut NHS Scotland until it bleeds. I cannot understand anyone who cares about the principles of the NHS even considering voting no, particularly those who work in it.

    75. heedtracker says:

      So google Jacky Baillie, Eleanor Broadford and BBC with this first up getting stuck right in like unionists do do

      In the latest of a series of strong criticisms of Scotland’s failing NHS, Labour’s Shadow Health Minister and local MSP, Jackie Baillie has been in action over the latest mess at NHS Grampian.

      He was followed on the air by a Reporting Scotland reporter (Broadford)pointing out that her own forensic examination of a major guidance publication from Mr Neil’s own department demonstrated that these cases are indeed outwith the waiting list targets.

      Responding to reports that NHS Grampian have allowed 3,500 patients to wait up to eight months for scans prior to being treated, Jackie Baillie said: ‘This shocking report comes just weeks after Alex Neil proudly boasted that Grampian had been given a clean bill of health over its waiting list management

      You get the overall BBC, Baillie, BetterTogether vote no Scotland campaign gist

    76. MochaChoca says:

      HM Treasury Country and Regional Analysis 2013 shows that £68m of the spending accounted to Scotland was for UK government departmental spending on health.

      Wouldn’t that be better actually spent by NHS Scotland adding to their own under pressure budget? that kind of money could pay for about 2700 extra nurses.

      It’s a small amount though compared to the overall £1.57bn accounted to Scotland for UK government departmental spending on departments which are actually devolved.

      And that’s just the identified amount, which itself is dwarfed by the non-identifiable spending attributed to us that we also never actually see.

    77. SquareHaggis says:

      Anyone know what time the Yes hut will be at the SNP conference today? Need to pop along and grab some promo stuff.

    78. heedtracker says:

      @ Desimond, they reek of desperation don’t they, which is only going to get worse. I think the way the BBC in Scotland has attacked Scots NHS is probably the most stark example of vote NO BBC determination to frighten people away from Scottish self government. It must make sense to the BBC planners, what is more important to people than good health care? Eleanor Broadford has one of the most powerful vote no propaganda tools available and boy do they use it.

    79. Desimond says:


      Transcript of Scotland Tonight:

      Host: Jackie Baillie, you’ve called for a review of these universal
      benefits, what are your views on them at the moment, on free
      prescriptions for instance, what are your views?
      JB: On free prescriptions, I’m very clear. If- you know we are seeing
      the advent of food banks coming back to our towns and cities, then-
      Host: So you want free prescriptions?
      JB: No. As long as food banks are coming back, you know we have a real issue-
      Host: -you want free prescriptions scrapped then? What’s your view,
      because you are the health spokesperson-
      JB: -Absolutely, I think there are a category of people who earn a
      great deal of money, who could afford to pay for free prescriptions.
      Host: So you want free prescriptions scrapped?
      JB: I would like to see prescriptions protected for those- as they
      were before- children, older people-
      Host: So you want free prescriptions scrapped, let’s just be clear on that.
      JB: Oh yes, universal free prescriptions I think should be reviewed.
      I think there are better things we could do with the money.

    80. Tommy Kane says:

      O/T not sure of it has been mentioned but apparently Mr Carmichael got another gutting from the Deputy First Minister yesterday at a debate in the law society. I have tried to find a copy of the debate, it was allegedly streamed but cannot find any links.
      He apparently explained that the access to justice for poor people needs to be restricted because of the deficit.
      He also clammed up and refused to answer other pointy questions.
      Another O/T I have been invited to a meeting in Inverclyde by BT on Monday 14th April where the shadow secretary of state for defence will explain the “cataclysmic effects” to the Defence establishment if we breakaway.
      They ask you to call a number to register and then they will tell you where it is being held. Hope BT clean out that phone box in time

    81. Robert Louis says:

      In case nobody else has posted this, I just wanted to draw attention to a great piece in Bella Caledonia today.

      It echoes much of what Rev Stu said in the piece last night. Now is the time to capitalise on our momentum, push even harder, so we get over the 50% line and then upwards. We should not be fooled by Better Together claims of lack of resources – make no mistake, they have many, many weapons at their disposal, not least of which is the entire UK Government, foreign office worldwide and civil service, plus their personal broadcaster, the Blatantly biased BBC in Scotland.

      We have a positive message for a better fairer Scotland, and a whole host of winning arguments, and we can win.

      Meanwhile, you could contribute to this very worthy cause:–11

    82. Desimond says:


      Is the Eleanor Broadford attack strategy working though?

      Peoples respect for the SNP Govt continues to rise and peoples love of the Scotish NHS is undiminished. Once again I think Labour minded folk are trying to start a fight in an empty house where nobody is listening. The crazy thing is, they just keep on doing this, like they get in so deep, they cant stop themselves.

    83. I have had an email invite to sign up. Active or previous NHS staff particularly welcome!
      My wife is getting a knee repair in Border General Melrose. I am off to visit in a minute and I am upping my visisbility from YES badge to FULL FLEECE! How bloody dare they publish such lies????

    84. heedtracker says:

      @Desimond, Is the Eleanor Broadford attack strategy working though? We’ll all find out for sure on the 19th Sept!:D

    85. Martin says:

      Yeah, we’re not really keen on- I’d go as far as to say we’re appalled by- what’s happening to the NHS down south so I doubt we’ll be signing up to NHS together.

    86. Robert Louis says:

      Liars, dammed liars and better together. Almost everything in that leaflet about the Scottish Health Service is a complete and utter lie.

      Will ANY Newspaper pick up on the blatant falsehood in Better together leaflets? NO.

      Will the blatantly biased BBC in Scotland pick up on the clear and demonstrable lies in Better together leaflets? NO.

    87. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I’m not suggesting anyone here is guilty, but please, please, convey this swift note to anyone who abuses Crosshouse Hospital parking to get a freebie before jumping on the bus to the day job in Kilmarnock:”

      I’m told it’s a four-hour max, so it’d be no good for commuting.

    88. chalks says:

      My wife is a practice nurse at a very large practice in the centre of Aberdeen….a couple of the nurses are Yes, but the vast majority still believe in the myths and have no idea that the NHS in Scotland is distinct from England etc.

      She does her best to explain, but doesn’t want to fall out with her workmates about it. It’s very difficult, they’ve no idea about the Barnett formula and the funding for our NHS, someone really needs to make up a poster or graphic explaining about it

      Something showing the budget for England/Scotland steadily decreasing but saying our NHS is not privatised, but the English NHS is and then about the funding issue would be good….the good thing is, the barnett formula is now becoming a bit better known by joe bloggs and the average activist in the street, so it can’t stay hidden for long.

      The NHS in Scotland has massive problems, ask any nurse, far too much middle managers, they got rid of sisters running the wards with an iron hand and standards have dropped…..

    89. Croompenstein says:

      I don’t think there is a time restriction at Crosshouse Hospital so Ian is right enough

    90. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “As someone who has transferred from the Scottish NHS to the English NHS, I would definitely question that they are seamless.”

      That’s a slightly different point – the reference is to cross-border treatment, not people moving permanently.

    91. Croompenstein says:

      @Doug@11:49 – Great post Doug is it ok to copy for future use?

    92. Linda's back says:

      I agree with chalks. My partner in NHS hospital and is amazed at lack of knowledge re NHS Scotland,s status. Huge education exercise for YES campaign for NHS staff and patients

    93. Gus says:

      If anyone would like to read about the history of NHS Scotland (including the Highlands and Islands Medical Service established in 1913) then here is the link

    94. heedtracker says:

      For this observer in the cheap seats, anyone else catch the ghastly Cockers of the telegraph last night, Westminster during the Brown supremacy did three things for the NHS. 1. jacked up doctor’s pay and pensions like a 2 million+ quid pension for GP’s 2. Brown/Darling PFI’d the shit out of hospital new build’s. 3 Brown/Darling turned NHS into a giant golden goose for said PFI cartel, as they hide enormous endless profit using offshore tax shelters.
      The great Brown PFI NHS new build swindle has been buried for now by noble UKOK media,BBC etc but there are loads of how do they get away with that nightmares. eg, Whitehall HMRC top tax experts now working for said PFI money pits.

    95. Col says:

      As long as they come out with crap like this we have an opportunity to explain to those in Scotland that our NHS has always been separate but to also explain that due to the way Barnett works the less money spent on the increasingly privatized NHS down south the less money we get to spend also. The only way to protect our NHS from the blue, red and yellow Tories is to snatch back the purse strings and make our own decisions on every penny we raise and spend. Simples!

    96. heedtracker says: is a good explanation of both how the great Brown/Darling NHS PFI golden goose works and how its treated by the City spivs who’s job it is to avoid paying any UK tax.

      ” City investors in private finance initiative schemes have found a more sophisticated way of avoiding tax, after the highly controversial transfer of the Inland Revenue’s estate to Bermuda five years ago. This led to the Treasury banning departments from signing deals with companies using offshore tax havens.

      By moving the vehicles established by British-based companies – which were set up to run a 30- to 40-year PFI – into an offshore fund, they claim they can get a more tax-efficient return for investors, such as pension funds and banks. Effectively, companies avoid tax on most capital gains from refinancing the contract or on extra cash squeezed out of the government to pay for additional services.”

      Its interesting that BBC journalists such as Eleanor Broadford never report/attack the actual cost to the tax payer of new hospital builds, just the people that work in them.

    97. We Are All Bourgeois Now says:

      O/T but I had to chase up Elainse Smith MSP yesterday as I hadn’t had an acknowledgement, never mind a reply, to the e-mail I sent 2 weeks ago. Well, this morning she fired back this:

      “Thank you for your interest in Labour’s proposals to further extend and enhance devolution for Scotland within the United Kingdom. I note that your email is identical to several others I have received which I understand were initiated by Wings over Scotland.”

      it then goes on with the identikit reply we have all received!

      At least she finally replied, though she does have form for ignoring e-mails from constituents – I’ve e-mailed her on a number of occasions and never had a reply from her!

    98. jingly jangly says:

      I think some of the problem with NHS workers is that they see their budgets under enormous pressure and blame the Scottish Government for the shortfalls. They don’t seem to make the connection with the 20% + reduction in Public Sector pocket money from Westminster.

      We are still at keeping powder dry stage, don’t worry I’m very positive that our strategists have a massive education of the masses planned at precisely the right time for maximum impact.

      Square Haggis
      The Aberdeenshire YES Trailer had to be there for 9.00am to ensure entry to site.

    99. Marcia says:

      I see the SNP have marked the passing of Margo McDonald with a tribute;

      Pity there is no live TV coverage today.

    100. jon esquierdo says:

      I have been saying it to yes scotland to the snp and to this site for ages. How do you educate the uneducated ? There are a lot of uneducated people out there who do not have a clue about the referendum

    101. Robert Kerr says:

      Strangely the Guardian admits to the existance of 4 “NHS” entities and has a useful article and commentary.

    102. bigGpolmont says:

      Last year after being involved in a traffic accident when a car covered in UKOK stickers ran into the back of mine

      Honestly you couldn’t make it up. I was referred for physiotherapy after eight weeks and ten appointments my physio referred me back to the hospital I was eventually given an operation to correct damage to my arm and I have just had four more appointments with another at least eight to go. The point of this tale is this My physio who is a Yes supporter tells me that in England most Health boards have a policy of two physio appointments only and then you have to go private If your injury was like mine due to a motor accident you would then claim against the other driver to recover the costs of the private physio. If our health service had been the same as theirs then

      (A) I would not have been referred back for the operation and I would be continuing to pay for my treatment and

      (B) Motor insurers would still be paying out and how do they recoup their losses by putting up their premiums for us all both north and south of the border so once again we are subsidising them south of the border!

      Yes our NHS is separate and a hell of a lot better than down south in almost a year since my accident I have not met a healthcare worker who does not know and APPRECIATE the difference

    103. The Rough Bounds says:

      I really wish the Scottish Government would drop the title NHS Scotland and just start calling it ‘the Scottish Health Service’ to emphasise the difference between us and the rest.

      The got rid of the title ‘Scottish Executive’ quickly enough and changed all the documentation to read ‘Scottish Government’. Why can’t they just start using the term Scottish Health Service?

    104. Hari Docherty says:

      As NHS Scotland is responsible for our “Spiritual Care” while in hospital , they commissioned this useful book (You can download free) when friends who work in NHS England saw it they said “It could never have been produced in England” I will let you decide on the reasons why that might be.

      New Publication – Reflections of Life

      As the Introduction states, “the collaboration between grassroots belief communities and frontline spiritual care specialists of NHS Scotland makes this book unique.” Its main purpose is to give people an opportunity to find words that express their own inner feelings. Quotations speak into the raw states of despair and loss, suffering and pain, as well as others that touch on love, hope and joy.
      We hope you find time to become familiar with this book and share it with others.

    105. Craig P says:

      This latest from BT is no different to them running Police Together, which is another public function run by the Scottish Office since whenever. But because we clearly already have different police forces, people wouldn’t fall for the line that police services or cross-border co-operation would suffer under independence.

      Whoever said the Scottish Government missed a trick renaming NHS Scotland was right – mind you if they had done that there would have been a huge stushie about expensive rebranding.

    106. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Pity there is no live TV coverage today.”

      Starts at 2.15pm on the BBC website, apparently.

    107. Caroline Corfield says:

      I read the article on the BBC website about the Nuffield report, interestingly the whole article pointed out the places where England was still doing better, but they had a graph about median waiting time for hip replacements which showed Scotland doing better than England, absolutely no mention of it in the article anywhere.
      here is the article, graph is down the page a bit

    108. Caroline Corfield says:

      and Fiona, I have so far found this site

      after a very cursory search online. It does not look like it only gives funding to researchers inside the UK, it looks like it gives funding to researchers. It also seems to mention Europe, I’m not going to go through it all, but in the integrated world we live in, with big Pharma companies larger than some countries, I simply do not see research funding in the rUK being limited to researchers operating within the rUK after Scottish independence. Like not having a currency union it would be cutting their noses off to spite their faces.

    109. Peter Macbeastie says:

      Genuinely amazed at the number of people completely and totally unaware of the fact that the Scottish NHS has never, ever, been attached to the NHS system elsewhere in the UK. All it shares directly with them is the acronym.

      Television coverage of the SNP conference? Completely par for the course. It appears to be the case that UK national parties get wall to wall coverage regardless of their size or popularity. UKIP gets more coverage, presumably because that smug little gimp Farage is the media golden child at present for some reason I cannot fathom.

      The SNP, party of government in Scotland notwithstanding, presumably is left with pitiful coverage because the London-centric BBC hierarchy see them as a regional party therefore not interesting to the rest of the country. This might be considered an excuse for not broadcasting their conference across the whole UK.

      I can only wonder at what BBC Scotland’s excuse is. Keeping us in the dark seems like the honest answer.

    110. call me dave says:

      Enjoyed the coverage of the conference. What a difference no smears to the other party leaders in Scotland. Loved it when Ms Sturgeon finally got round to saying the words directly to those listening outside the hall.

      “Vote YES to reclaim the labour party”

      Packed house, no seats to be had. No need for the wee close up shots and nobody sleeping or dozing off. Good mix of ages in the attendees that I saw.

    111. geeo says:

      An amazing thing happened today…i got a BT Newspaper posted through the door tonight.

    112. geeo says:

      Sorry got over excited there..

      Page 6 was fun..”i wouldnt be here without the UK NHS”

      Swiftly followed by “the Scottish Parliament has control over the NHS in Scotland but it remains part of a far bigger British institution”

      Even subo was quoted..”im not a nationalist”
      My thoughts on that ?
      Good for you…????

    Comment - please read this page for comment rules. HTML tags like <i> and <b> are permitted. Use paragraph breaks in long comments. DO NOT SIGN YOUR COMMENTS, either with a name or a slogan. If your comment does not appear immediately, DO NOT REPOST IT. Ignore these rules and I WILL KILL YOU WITH HAMMERS.

    ↑ Top