Darling faces challenge to come clean on real threat to the NHS
Senior medical staff in Scotland today accused Alistair Darling of trying to mislead voters over the seriousness of the threat to the health service north of the Border.
Dr Willie Wilson, a founder-member of NHS for Yes said: “He says one thing in Glasgow and his Labour Party colleague Andy Burnham says the opposite at Westminster about the privatization of the NHS.”
Dr Wilson and his fellow campaigners have called on the leader of the No Camp to explain his comments on BBC Radio Scotland this morning (Tue) that contradict claims made by Andy Burnham MP, Labour’s health spokesperson in England.
Mr Darling said: “What I’m saying is that there is no political party in the UK at the moment that can get away with destroying the NHS.”
This contrasts starkly with claims made by Mr Burnham in a speech on July 29 this year when he said: “NHS privatisation is now proceeding at pace and scale… Five more years of the same would push the NHS off the cliff-edge where it now finds itself.”
Dr Wilson said: “Mr Darling needs to explain himself. He was clearly struggling with questions on the threat posed by English NHS privatization, and was reduced to defending the Tory government’s outrageous NHS plans.
“He says no party can get away with destroying the NHS, and yet that is what his Labour colleagues in England say is happening right now. Labour’s English health spokesperson, Andy Burnham, even warns that the NHS is about to be pushed off the 'cliff-edge'.
“That warning from UK Labour less than a month ago is one of the reasons so many people now realise the scale of the threat to Scotland’s health service.
“The No campaign has been caught out making very different claims about the NHS north and south of the Border. If even one of the NHS threats identified by UK Labour comes to pass, then Scotland’s budget will be cut. That’s bad news for the NHS in Scotland and is a risk too far for the people of Scotland.
“Mr Darling’s failed attempt to defend the indefensible has served only to make the Yes case – we need a Yes to give a cast-iron guarantee that English NHS privatisation can’t damage Scotland’s NHS.
“And these latest claims will come as a surprise to the concerned English voters on the 300-mile People’s March from Jarrow to Westminster in protest at what they see as the UK government’s 'destruction of the NHS'.”
Blair Jenkins, Chief Executive of Yes Scotland, said: “Alistair Darling, yet again, has found himself in a real bind – saying one thing while his party colleagues at Westminster say the opposite and his campaign partners at No, the Tories, doing what could be irreparable damage.
“However, I suspect that a growing majority of the people of Scotland are becoming more and more aware of the threat posed by a No vote and, on September 18, will put their cross where it counts to ensure a fairer and more just nation– in the Yes box.”
More and more people are waking up to the threat that a No vote poses to Scotland’s NHS, following the stark warnings in the past few weeks from Labour politicians south of the border.
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