Scotland’s former chief medical officer Harry Burns, has said a Yes vote in the independence referendum could bring benefits for Scotland’s health.
Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Crossfire programme, Sir Harry said that if people in an independent Scotland felt more in control of their lives “then that would be very positive for their health”.
He added: “If people felt that they were able to engage more with local government, with central government and make choices more easily for themselves then that would improve their health.”
Sir Harry is a former surgeon who became chief medical officer in 2005, he stepped down earlier this year following eight years in the role.
He also warned of the dangers of the decisions being made about the NHS south of the border.
He said: “At the moment, decisions – particularly about the health service – being made in England are very different from the decisions being made in Scotland.
“That is very important because I fear for the way the health service is going in England.”
Commenting, SNP MSP Aileen McLeod, who sits on the Health Committee, said:
“These comments from Scotland’s highly respected former chief medical officer are very welcome indeed. Sir Harry recognises the opportunities independence could bring for Scotland’s health as a nation, stating that if this led to people feeling more in control of their lives then their health would improve.
“Sir Harry also adds to the growing number of people raising concern about the NHS south of the border. Dr Philippa Whitford – a top consultant breast cancer surgeon – recently spoke out about NHS privatisation, warning that there would not be a health service south of the border in five years’ time.
“With the powers of the Scottish Parliament we have been able to protect our NHS from privatisation. But Westminster remains obsessed with dismantling the NHS – and cuts to its budget south of the border would have a knock on impact in Scotland in the event of a No vote. This is a risk we can’t take.
“Only a Yes vote gives us the powers we need to ensure that Westminster privatisation of the NHS stops at the border – and that the NHS in Scotland can continue to deliver world class health care for everyone who needs it.”