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Devolution has created four different health services in the UK, says BMA leader

8 July 2008

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The success of NHS Scotland should no longer be compared with the system in England, said Dr Peter Terry, chairman of the BMA in Scotland.

Speaking at the Annual conference of the BMA in Edinburgh yesterday, Dr Terry said: “Devolution has led to the creation of four different health services in the UK, where England has gone down a completely different route to that taken by Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. I no longer recognise the NHS in England as the NHS as it was initially intended, where competition and privatisation drive service delivery, not the collaboration and partnership approach taken here in Scotland.

“To compare our health service with that in England is becoming increasingly easy and inappropriate. If we are to improve in Scotland, we must have more challenging comparisons outwith the UK that aspire to similar, fully integrated, co-operative and fully publicly funded health services. We must also stay true to our emphasis on long-term public health improvement and eliminate the effects of deprivation and social inequality.”

Dr Terry also welcomed the Scottish Health Secretary’s recent joint announcement with the health ministers from the devolved nations which stated that “Our NHS will be based on strong partnership between the government, the public, patients, staff and their trade unions.”

He added: “Although we are making good progress in a number of areas of the health service, there remain challenges that must be addressed and I hope that the Scottish government recognises the need to work with doctors to develop policy rather than impose change for changes’ sake.”


Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

“Devolution has led to changes that discriminate against those living in England. It means that Scottish MPs at Westminster, who are allowed to vote on English matters, have voted for less care and choices in England, and have more care in Scotland. This is not only discriminatory, it means that if you have a postcode in Scotland, you get more, if you have a postcode in England, you get less – how does this sit with the principles of healthcare within the NHS – care for all at the point of need?” – Rose Grant, London

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