THE SNP needs an overwhelming vote of support at the General Election, if for no other reason than to support its attempt to save our National Health Service from being taken over by multinational companies.

If Boris Johnson returns to Westminster as Prime Minister with a massive majority he could carry out his threat, that the health services in Scotland should be taken out of the control of the Scottish Parliament, as an act of petty revenge against Joanna Cherry and the SNP for dragging him through the courts.

Many people are probably unaware that the Tory/LibDem coalition’s Health and Social Care Act 2012 removed the 2% private patient cap and now allows NHS trusts in England to generate up to 49% of their income from private patients. As a result England is moving towards a semi-private health service whose income will depend to a significant extent on large concentrations of population able to provide mass markets for specialised procedures and services that are attractive to multinational companies.

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There will soon be a two-tier NHS in England, one that is privately financed with negligible waiting times for a swathe of relativity straightforward procedures, such as hip replacements and cataract removal, while the second tier is left with even longer waiting times for the complex, time-consuming, open-ended and long-term cases.

The health service in England has already moved away from providing services to concentrate on patient outcomes. Since 2015 provision of health services in England has been open to competitive tendering on a level playing field basis open to NHS groups, private companies and third-sector organisations.

The Secretary of State is no longer responsible for delivering health services; the secretary now sets national outcome goals to monitor the progress of NHS England, which “do not set out how these outcomes should be delivered, it is for NHS England to determine how best to deliver improvements by working with Clinical Commissioning Groups to make use of the tools at their disposal”.

This approach will obviously provide many opportunities for companies to target selected areas of surgery and provision of services in order to generate the maximum amount of profit for the minimum amount of investment from the quasi private English system.

The the provision of health services in Scotland and England are now diverging more quickly than at any time since the NHS began, Scotland with its smaller, scattered population would face a bleak future under the English model. This is not the route that NHS Scotland should follow.

John Jamieson
South Queensferry

L MCGREGOR (Letters, November 1) must realise that a Plan B will already exist, and C and D will be in the frame too. The SNP leadership will have considered all options and they will have been well scrutinised, on the shelf ready to be dusted down if or when necessary. And the Westminster government, whoever holds power, will also be aware of what all the options, strategies and tactics are.

Come the new year, the request will go in. We know it will be rejected. Can’t wait to see what happens then.

Jim Taylor

SINCE my late teens I have campaigned for Scottish independence and for half a century been a committed member of the SNP. I was much moved by Patrick Harvie’s piece in yesterday’s National and agree with all he says (The Yes movement is about much more than the SNP, November 1). Perhaps when we have our independence I will feel free to vote for his party, whose ethos I hold precious. Until that time, I consider it essential that the infinite capacity and handicap we Scots have for good squabbling is kept to a minimum.

Only unity can secure our liberty. It matters not a whit among us who leads us to our land of opportunity and international standing and wealth which should be our place. At present in what purports to be our British democracy it is apparent that only the SNP can lead our field, but the unity of Yes must inspire us all. It is no time to sulk in our tents and the example of the SSP’s sacrifice of its conference should be held as an example. Stand together, Scots, young, old and new. Let us carry the future of our nation and her people forward to the promise of managing our own affairs and let us save our differences till then. It would be a great gift to pass to those who come hereafter.

KM Campbell

IT’S my fault, I have a TV licence. I also have a remote and don’t use it. On a weekly basis I have my blood pressure raised. This week again having to endure Isabel Euphemia Oakeshott on Question Time. This right-wing journalist, who just for information went to Gordonstoun, has been on this programme some 11 times, rivalling another panellist with similar views, Magdalen College Oxford graduate Julia Hartley-Brewer.

This, as the BBC would say, helps to represent a fair and balanced view on questions asked. I know their views, I have heard them countless times, almost as many times as I have heard those of Tim Martin, the owner of Wetherspoons, who is worth apparently some 418 million quid that I don’t think a Brexit deal or no deal will make a dent in.

Next Thursday, November 7, Question Time is from Glasgow and I have applied to be part of the fair and balanced audience that the BBC selects. I am not holding my breath.

I will probably be crouched behind my sofa at 10pm next Thursday with remote in hand, only this time I intend to use it.

Hector Maclean