Anti-independence scares shift to NHS as triple A downgrade blows campaign off course

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  By G.A.Ponsonby
 
The Better Together campaign has turned its attention to the Scottish NHS in the latest in a series of claims aimed at blocking the move towards Scottish independence.
 
The shift in strategy follows embarrassment last week when triple A boasts by the pro-Union camp were dealt a fatal blow after Moody’s downgraded the UK credit rating.

In an effort at diverting from the economic catastrophe, which included admissions from Westminster that a newly independent Scotland can use the pound, Better Together which is led by Labour MP Alistair Darling has claimed that independence will hit cross border medical treatment.

In a statement, the campaign has claimed the current “seamless” situation would be replaced by “a layer of bureaucracy and decision-making”.

Better Together director, Scottish Labour health spokesperson – MSP Jackie Baillie, said: “It doesn’t matter if you are from England, Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland – you can now go to any part of the country to get the care that your condition requires.  You don’t need to worry about anything, other than getting the treatment you need.

“If we leave the UK, all of this will change.  We would be replacing a simple, internal relationship with an international, cross-Border one.”

The sudden shift in direction from Better Together follows a disastrous week that has seen key claims scuppered by announcements and events.

Credit agency Moody’s left the No campaign with thousands of leaflets containing misleading boasts about the UK’s triple A rating after the agency downgraded the rating to AA1. 

It also emerged this week that another key claim relating to 14,000 international treaties was in fact false, after a Foreign Office Official admitted that many of the treaties had long since expired and that costs meant that no audit could be carried out to determine how many treaties were actually still live.

The Scottish Government’s Health Minister Alex Neil has insisted that current cross-border arrangements would persist after independence.

Mr Neil said: “In an independent Scotland, these arrangements would not change”