By a Newsnet reporter
The anti-independence campaign has been accused of using desperate tactics in order to scare Scottish voters into rejecting a Yes vote in September’s independence referendum.
Today former Prime Minister Gordon Brown resurrected claims that an independent Scotland would face cross-border problems if patients needed life saving organ transplants or blood transfusions.

According to the former Labour leader, patients north of the border would be “at risk” in the event of a Yes vote.

Brown said: “I call on the SNP to tell the truth about the benefits we receive from direct links with England in healthcare.”

However the Labour politicians attempt to scare patients who benefit from cross-border collaboration has been condemned by the Scottish Government.

A spokeswoman for the SNP administration said: “NHS Blood and Transplant, which co-ordinates organ donation across the UK, has already confirmed in writing that independence would not lead to any change in these arrangements.”

The claims from Brown were disproven in March this year when a letter from the NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) service, which deals with the transport of vital organs across the country, stated that it expects cross-border healthcare systems to stay in place after a Yes vote in September.

In a letter initially sent to Tory MSP Nanette Milne officials stated that: “NHSBT would expect this reciprocal agreement to continue if Scotland does agree to independence as the arrangement offers additional security to all four blood services.”

The letter also stated that: “NHSBT has representation on the Scottish Transplant Group and, in addition to this, senior members of NHSBT have regular discussions with Scottish Government officials.

“From these discussions I can confirm that NHSBT and Scottish Government do not believe that there would be any significant change to the relationship or the management of organ donation and transplantation in the event of independence.”

Evidence of cross border healthcare cooperation has already been published by pro-independence campaign group Yes Scotland.  One story involved a mother whose baby received treatment in Germany after officials from England, Scotland and Germany seamlessly worked together.

Consultant Izhar Khan has criticised claims that cross-border medical treatment and co-operation would be under threat in an independent Scotland, describing the statements as “scaremongering”.

Speaking last September, Dr Khan said “This appears to be nothing more than scaremongering.  As a doctor, I do not ask if a patient is Scottish, English, Irish or Welsh. Doctors treat patients, not nationalities.”

He added: “An independent Scotland would continue these arrangements for a number of very straightforward and sensible reasons – not least because these services are paid for and are extra-contractual.

“Money follows the patient from Scotland and the struggling NHS in England is not going to refuse lucrative contracts.”

Commenting in March, SNP MSP Aileen McLeod, who sits on the Health and Sport Committee, said:

“The NHS Blood and Transplant service makes it perfectly clear that they expect the reciprocal arrangement with NHS Scotland that currently exists to continue after Scotland becomes independent.

“That is an entirely sensible position and one that confirms that an independent Scotland will of course cooperate closely with the rest of the UK on all kinds of issues where it is in our mutual interest to do so.”


2014-07-21 05:06

Their appears to be no depths to labours and better-togethers depravity and scaremongering.

As for Gordon Brown himself, your not much of a man when you have to use sick people as a political weapon, disgraceful.
2014-07-21 05:34

This from the man who argues that Scotland receives a “union dividend” from disability benefits and pension credits because – wait for it – we are poorer and more likely to die younger (Guardian, 21/4). Not a thought about how we might work to improve those awful statistics. No, he sees poverty and mortality rates as a fiscal bonus.

I think that says it all for Labour’s attitude towards Scotland.
2014-07-21 06:05

Last year the Daily Mail reported that patients from the south of England were being sent to France via Eurostar for treatment which would seem to me Mr Brown to be crossing a “border“.
This failure from the loathsome Blair years has no credibility and should stick to his lucrative lecture tours although why anyone would pay thousands to listen to him is one of life`s great mysteries.
2014-07-21 06:38

This will be Brown’s riposte to Sir Harry Burn’s pointing to Independence could be good for people’s health!
2014-07-21 07:22

Labour’s scaremongering in the referendum campaign is so extreme that it has become a scorched earth policy.

Labour don’t appear to understand that pursuing its scorched earth policy means that Labour itself is going to be its biggest casualty.
2014-07-21 07:31

Great Ormond Street hospital already put this one to bed:…/…
2014-07-21 07:34

I suspect this comes down to the notion that in the absence of Oil revenues, rUK is going to have to tax their Elite buddies – not like anyone else has much to spare.

So what happens when the financial sector boys decide to jump ship cos’ they’re being asked to fund social spending? Or does rUK have to flog off the NHS in its entirety cos’ they can’t afford it without oil revenues?

I’m no economist, but it seems to me they have two choices, super-austerity or start working for most of the people instead of just the few. Doesn’t look like they relish that choice.
2014-07-21 07:54

Sorry if this is OT

The Yes Saltire which I had attached to the railings outside my house in Hawick has been stolen overnight . Whoever stole it must have used wire cutters to detach it. Now who would want to do this?
I’ve reported the theft to the Police.
2014-07-21 07:59

Individual politicians are playing dirty politics, however it is the acceptance from others in Labour that I find most despicable.

It is worse than the LibDems abandoning their principles in joining with the Conservatives. To stand quiet is the same as doing, and it seems the people of Scotland have become irrelevant in Labour’s attempts to hold power.
2014-07-21 08:28

For the really scary stuff – not just about the NHS –…/……/…
2014-07-21 08:56

The real threat to Scottish health is if the border between Scotland and England disappears following a No vote as has been promised by British Labour’s health spokesperson.
The current “British” health service is rapidly going down the road of privatisation in preparation for American health companies taking it over.
At present,the only thing that stands between us and that situation is our border,a border which for administrative purposes will cease to exist with a No vote.
2014-07-21 09:32

Sincerely hope that our First Minister manages to stick it to Alistair Darling in the forthcoming debate, that NHS Scotland has forever been separate from the NHS in England, and that there will be no change to the current reciprocal arrangements.
2014-07-21 09:44

We’re definitely right into the “silly season” now.
2014-07-21 09:48

From frightening the elderly over pensions to targeting the sick over treatment.

Misrepresentati  on appears to be a bit of a hobby for absentee MPs with nothing but time on their hands.
2014-07-21 09:49

As the parent of a young man on the transplant list and who also must regularly use blood products in order to survive I find this particular scaremongering against the vulnerable absolutely disgusting.

Gordon Brown knows fine that reciprocal arrangements will be in place after independence as they are now. I just see self interest in all his interventions.

The ‘Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown’ is doing very nicely out of Westminster swanning them round the world for lucrative speaking engagements and he doesn’t want it to come to an end.
2014-07-21 10:44

“Bought and sold for London gold,
Sic a parcel o rogues in a nation!”

Efter three hunner year, naethin muckle haes chynged.
A wunner hou mony Better Thegither mairriet couples is still aye bydin wi thir mithers an faithers yit?
2014-07-21 10:46

I’m ashamed to say Gordon Brown is my local MP.

Self-serving doesn’t cover it.
2014-07-21 10:56

Brown and the other scare merchants all carefully avoid the real horror stuff: tell us of the fearsome future faced by England once the Scottish crutch has been removed.
Can they stand on their own two feet for long? Can the people there really support the obscene costs of the legions of hangers-on and their expensive tastes? Will Sharia Law come home to roost?

It would suit Mr Brown to apply himself to such matters – we’re daein’ jist fine, but thanks for the (phoney) concern.
2014-07-21 12:48

Stuart Campbell across on Wings’ has just got it straight from the horse’s mouth at the NHS Blood and Transplant Organ Donation and Transplantation Directorate that there will be no change after Scotland becomes independent.
Brown and his cohorts seem to be getting into a blind panic screeching any lie they can think of to try and cause fear.
The main fear around the Referendum is in the Unionist camp and that is the fear that their gravy train is soon to hit the buffers.
2014-07-21 12:59

Brown is a disgrace to Scotland.
2014-07-21 13:49

As has been said in other reports, in 5 years England won’t have an NHS to speak of, and if we vote NO, in 10 years neither will Scotland.
Because once America gets its hands on the health service here, it will quickly become “no insurance, no treatment”.
Mad Jock McMad
2014-07-21 14:07

Geeza Job Dugdale is at the same game in the Record after we have had wee ‘See you Jimmy’ Osmond style Labour ‘Lover from Liverpool’ at the weekend. So is the Clunkin Dounut’s piece in the Hootsmon any real surprise?

This week the big idea is to rerun already failed NHS scares. This suggests the No Campaign is increasingly reduced to talking to itself via its tame media as the rest of Scotland continues to grow up and seek to take responsibility for itself.

By Thursday the cries from the No Campaign wilderness will be back to ‘jam tomorrow’.
Auld Rock
2014-07-21 15:45

Correct me if I’m wrong but I was under the impression that certain medical services were Pan-European i.e if one country did not have a specialist facility and another does then the patient is transferred there. Seems I remember some years ago a woman with a chronic condition who was transferred to a hospital in Sweden as treatment was not available here.

Auld Rock
2014-07-21 19:31

Tony Blair played this fool like a fish for years knowing his lust for power overcomes all other considerations. All he has to look forward to now is his peerage for services to London. The white paper states the Lords is a matter for RUK after Sept18. He nae doot has a private health scheme lined up for himself too – cynical, Aye, born out of experience. He’d be Labour peer number 220. Vote YES!
2014-07-21 22:48

Auld Rock\\\\\  \; you’re quite right. There is an EU Directive on organ donation which requires member states to share organs appropriately. See this link:…/…

There has been previous discussion of this issue, along with clarification from UK Transplant, and leading clinicians. To be frank, it’s simply not believable that the person behind putting Gordon Brown up to making this statement was unaware of the true situation. This is a deliberate lie, promulgated from the bowels of the Project fear campaign. Were Yes Scotland to be found to have lied like this, it would be on every main TV and radio channel, and in every Scottish daily paper. Care to lay bets that there will be no coverage of this tomorrow?
2014-07-22 11:44

Mr Brown may look forward to a peerage if England will foot the bill; I can imagine him sitting in the House of Lords gazing off and on at reruns of Gazza scoring the most wonderful goal he had ever seen – for England against Scotland.
He was just following his moral compass to make the people of England like him. It did not work. He’s trying now to reinvent himself as the saviour of the Union.

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