Brown says the SNP are ‘perpetrating a lie’ about protecting the NHS with independence, as Holyrood already has the power to keep the health service public:
The Scottish Parliament can keep the NHS in public hands with its existing powers. If the SNP continue to say they are powerless to protect the NHS in Scotland, let them make way for a Labour government in Scotland and we will protect the NHS.
He says Labour would not allow the NHS to be privatised:
It is the SNP who are perpetrating a lie about what the NHS can and cannot do in Scotland. Over these next few hours, you must remind the people in Scotland the NHS has the powers and the Scottish Parliament has the powers to fund the health service, to protect the health service, to stop any privatisation, and to keep the health service in public hands.
A document is said to show that the Scottish NHS is facing cuts of $733 million between 2015 and 2017. It says that the health service faces cuts of 210 million pounds in 2015-16 and 224 million pounds in 2016-17 as annual cost savings rise from 2% to 3.5%:
Significant revenue pressures will be realised in 2015-16 and 2016-17, primarily due to the combined effect of a reducing increase in baseline funding, the project impact of the pension revaluation [contribution increases] and loss of national insurance rebate and the cost of funding of the drugs budget – largely due to changes to access to rare and ultra rare drugs, availability of new treatments or extending use to new indications.
The savings come in addition to cuts during the current fiscal year:
The total savings required will be £400million-to-£450million in addition to savings required in 2014-15. Limited time is available to plan for 2015-16 and 2016-17 and immediate action is required to collectively assess the options that will ensure that NHS Scotland can operate within its overall allocation and that we can continue to provide quality, safe and effective care to our constituent populations.
NHS England medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh writes in the Mail that independence would create a ‘Hadrian’s Wall of health’ between England and Scotland:
‘The people of Wales, England or Northern Ireland could not privatise the Scottish NHS even if they wanted to’.