Fears for cross-border health after ‘Yes’ vote

The prospect of Borders residents losing out on cross-border healthcare in a future independent Scotland has been raised again.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 27th February 2014, 12:40 pm
Berwick Infirmary.
Berwick Infirmary.

John Lamont, MSP, commented last week on statistics released by the Scottish Government showing that thousands of Borders patients could lose out should Scotland vote to separate from the rest of the UK.

In the last ten years, tens of thousands of inpatient and outpatient appointments have been made at English hospitals for Borders residents.

These are currently allowed as part of a cross-border agreement between the NHS in England and Scotland.

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The Borders would be particularly hard hit by this issue, with residents having been given 21,899 outpatient appointments in England in the last decade, as well as 3,391 inpatient appointments.

Mr Lamont said: “If Scotland chooses to separate from the rest of the UK this September, these cross-borders arrangements could be jeopardised. This would not only prove to be a massive inconvenience for many Borders residents, but would also restrict their access to important medical care.

Paul Wheelhouse, SNP MSP for South Scotland, responded:“John Lamont should have the decency to apologise for another example of blatant scaremongering of patients on both sides of the Border.

“He is either genuinely ignorant of what is in the white paper or he is purposefully setting out to hoodwink the public.

“He should apologise, take the time to order a copy of Scotland’s Future and to read it. He is playing politics with the fears of some of our most vulnerable constituents and I frankly think it is a disgrace .”