The Coalition Government is currently finding it difficult to push its flagship Bills through parliament in the face of growing public opposition, writes ANN McKECHIN


Legislation, such as the Welfare Reform Bill, will negatively affect thousands of families across Glasgow and I am doing everything in my power along with my fellow Labour colleagues at Westminster to hold the Government to account. However, based on the volume of emails from constituents in my inbox this week, it is safe to say the Health and Social Care Bill is causing just as much concern.

I share the concern that many local people, health professionals, staff and patients have expressed about the Government’s reorganisation of the NHS in England. I have always thought the proposals are unnecessary, badly drafted and that will pose a real risk that could lead to the break-up of the NHS as a national public service.

After months of argument which has failed to show any substantial improvements, I believe the Health and Social Care Bill should be dropped. The UK Government have failed to build any form of professional, political or public consensus to support their proposals and I fear this Bill risks fragmenting and fundamentally altering a service that we all value and rely on. That is why I voted against the Government’s proposals at Third Reading and why I think it is vital that the Government now publish the professional risk assessment on the Bill’s proposal immediately so that all MP’s can be clear of the impact on our NHS BEFORE the Bill is finalised.

Many of those who contacted me were concerned that even though the Scottish Government has responsibility over the NHS in Scotland, these reforms in England will have a knock on effect. The Coalition government has described these NHS Reforms as the most comprehensive change to the service in over thirty years.

Although management of NHS Scotland has been successfully devolved for over a decade it does not exist in a vacuum and I believe it is inevitable that changes affecting 85% of patients in the UK will put pressures on the devolved nations.

Many health professionals will work on either side of the border during their career and at present, the pay and conditions terms of NHS workers and GP’s is largely the same – that could well change and some of my constituents are warning against specialists being “poached” by private health providers who may take over NHS hospitals in England.

In England, we may well see foreign companies taking over large number of GP practices and hospitals and then having a base to promote their services in Scotland and Wales.

There are also concerns about the impact on a number of important NHS coordinating bodies that work throughout the UK which will become increasingly fragmented. I know from my time as a Government minister during the swine flu pandemic how important these groups are in the event of emergencies.

Now, as spending cuts loom large I worry about what lies ahead for NHS both here in Scotland and throughout the UK. If you would like further information about the current situation in Westminster on this or any other issue, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

I have recently updated my website which contains all my latest news, activities in Parliament, useful information and if you would like to sign up to receive my regular newsletter you can do so there. The address is 

Ann McKechin is the Labour MP for Glasgow North. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnMcKechinMP.

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13 thoughts on “NHS reforms will impact on Scotland too

  1. Yes – under devolution, NHS reforms in England could adversely affect Scotland’s NHS.

    Of course, that is just another argument to consider in the 2014 referendum.

  2. Simple, vote and support Independence for Scotland, and protect our NHS from private health profiteers.

    1. Or vote “no” so we can continue to help and support everyone in this country rather than selfishly shutting up shop and saying “you are English, your problem”.

      NHS “reforms” are happening in England and Wales that will effect Scottish residents NOT because they’re English and we are Scottish; but because there is a Tory goverment down there and a nationalist, self-focused navel gazing admistration in Edinburgh.

      A strong Union with a progressive government can help all people in the UK, rather than those north of the river tweed.

      1. Sorry Davyv, are you claiming that if Johann Lamont led the Scottish Goverment, the NHS in Scotland would not be affected by the reforms taking place in the rest of the UK?

  3. Ann,

    Good to hear your on song with protecting the NHS (England). As you will be aware, Alex Salmond, while in Liverpool/telly got an very strong reaction from the english audiance. To me this meant there was an open goal for Labour in England to score a truckload of goals. So what happened?

    Life is never static, you should know that. So losing some of the elite NHS workers to another “company” is normal. I work in the oil industry and this goes on all the time, orgnisations adapt to the environment or they wither and perish. The NHS(England) does need to adapt to changing conditions, but it should be evolutionary not planned by politicians, they, should only set the expectations.

  4. I dont think it unreasonable to state that both Tory and Labour believe in privatised medicine, the only difference being in the degree of involvment. Howerever, I think this will be like a ratchet, with the ratchet only turning in one direction, so eventually it will be a commerce-driven “industry”. This is not something I want to see in Scotland, so it is something to consider in the referendum, because we would be forced into it by staying in the Union. Higher education, now health. Once it was creeping Nationalisation that we had, now its creeping privatisation, and with every new government it will go further.

  5. The solution couldn’t be any simpler, vote for independence in 2014 Referendum.
    I am sure our good neighbours in England are quite capable of sorting out their own problems with the NHS for themselves after we get independence.

  6. Davy are you saying the Tory Govt is not nationalist and self focused or are you saying Tory good for everyone, SG bad for everyone ?

    1. Eh which Davy? myself who believes in Scottish independence and the ability to make our own decisions.

      Or the “davyv123” individuals who dont know want to know anything, but if it means agreeing with the SNP Scottish government their against it, regardless ???

  7. Ann, perhaps you could explain what happened to the NHS under Patricia Hewitt?
    She was very keen on privatisation I believe.

    What Labour need to do is make a cast iron promise that a future government will do all in its power to reverse this creeping privatisation. It’s easy in opposition to decry the Tories, but what happens if Labour does return to power? Will they truly change?

  8. One more reason for independence. Roll on 2014. Us Scots have totally seperate and incompatable ideas of how we want our country run so really we have no choice. Although we may be the same species (human), we are different breeds with different priorites and vastly different views on what is important, ie defence, the economy, nuclear power, nuclear weapons, green energy, the NHS, social welfare, etc, etc. Better to admit we have grown apart and agree to a divorce where we can remain friends and even help each other out, without having to resort to fighting and argueing.

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