NHS Scotland plans to make wealthy pay 'sickening'

Two-tier health service would destroy NHS with poorer patients ‘lives worth less’

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Discussions between NHS leaders in Scotland on abandoning the health service’s founding principles by having wealthy patients pay for treatment are ‘sickening’, Unite said on Monday (November 21).

The discussions, revealed by the BBC, were recorded in draft minutes of a meeting held by NHS Scotland health board chief executives in September.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “These plans would destroy the NHS and create a privatised healthcare system where the value of a life is measured by the ability to pay for treatment. Even discussing such a possibility is sickening.

“The NHS was founded on the principle of free care being available at point of need. There can be no capitulation to the vulture capitalism that makes the American health system the shame of the civilised world. Instead of chief executives meeting to discuss secret privatisation plans they ought to be prioritising a decent pay offer for staff which would begin to address the staff-exodus crisis.”

Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty added, “The idea that this is even being discussed by those that have a job to protect the NHS is shameful.

“While we welcome the comments made by the cabinet secretary and first minister that the principle of universality is not up for debate or discussion, the reality is that it is being privately discussed among appointed civil servants of the Scottish government. Unite in Scotland is now calling for an inquiry into why income-based care was on the agenda and who supported it.”

By Ryan Fletcher