Letters: Under-counter cuts through privatization pose serious threat to Scotland’s NHS

VIRGIN Healthcare, which has won more than £ 2 billion in healthcare contracts in England since entering the healthcare market in 2010, has been acquired by private equity firm Twenty20 Capital.

Sir Richard Branson, when Virgin Group became involved in the NHS in 2010, publicly pledged that “Virgin Group will never make a profit beyond its investment in Virgin Care”. It is not clear if Twenty20 Capital has made such a commitment.

In Scotland, of course, the government has committed to a public NHS, and it is protected from such deals, but this takeover has serious implications for the Scottish NHS.

The Barnett Formula, the mechanism the UK government uses to decide how to redistribute the tax revenue it receives from Scotland, calculates the amount for the Scottish NHS based on the amount spent on the NHS in England. Thus, the less Westminster spends directly on the English NHS, because the more it is privatized, the less the Scottish government receives via the Barnett formula to manage the Scottish NHS.

The BMA recently reported that since the passage of the Health and Social Services Act in 2012, the NHS in England has been forced to follow the path of increased commercialization and privatization – and the government has accelerated its aggressive outsourcing to private companies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just last week, Chancellor Rishi Sunak was in California to meet with British medical companies, and it is inevitable, with this government, that there will be a further privatization of the English NHS, and therefore Scottish NHS revenues will be gradually reduced. .

The NHS has always been held in high regard in Scotland, and the Scottish government is doing its best to protect it, but, with these funding cuts under way, for how long?

The Mackays, Dundee.


YOU report that a Japanese billionaire, Yusaku Maezawa, spent 12 days in space at a cost of £ 60.8million (International: In Brief, The Herald, December 22). One can imagine, as a wise businessman, that the cost of his trip to space was probably paid by the interest that his accumulated fortune earned during those few days: who knows, it’s probably tax deductible. UN statistics suggest that 300,000 people worldwide, half of them children, will starve to death during that same 12-day period.

This may be an extreme example, but we hear of politicians flouting the Covid rules to have a good time and have a high paying second job while 35% of Scots must choose to feed their children or turn on the heater.

Merry Christmas, yes.

David J Crawford, Glasgow.


In the consultation document on the unproven verdict (NP), there is one question that concerns me, in that it suggests that the consultation is not genuine. There are seven questions about NP that must be answered. Questions 5 and 6 begin with “Do you believe …” and the answers may be “yes” or “no” or “not sure”.

Question 7 is: “Do you believe that the unproven verdict can cause any particular trauma to victims of crime and their families?” There is no “uncertain” answer.

Question 7 involves speculation. I wouldn’t know the answer, but if I was honest I couldn’t answer “No” because I don’t know. If I was honest I couldn’t answer “yes” either, because I don’t know, but if I think it can, the best answer would be “yes”. If most of those consulted answer ‘yes’, as they probably will, the Scottish government will claim that the case for abolishing the verdict has been made.

In the past, Nicola Sturgeon and Keith Brown have said they are in favor of scrapping the verdict, but recently Mr Brown has said the Scottish government has an open mind. Question 7 suggests otherwise.

Douglas J Cusine, Stonehaven.


The influx of “foreigners” into all branches of industry and commerce has been accelerating for years, especially in the railways (“The head of New ScotRail has no experience in the rail industry” , The Herald, December 21, and Letters, December 22). For better or for worse, it’s up to everyone to guess. In the 1960s, the government of the day brought in a man from ICI to sort out the future of British Railways. I can add that another type of Batchelor’s Foods also came to the scene to lend their supposed expertise.

What is more important is that the fledgling Scottish railways which will see the light of day next April are not to be regulated at any level like the current fiasco of Calmac ferry services.

John Macnab, Falkirk.


SHOULD THERE be a public inquiry into the Edinburgh Trams Public Inquiry (‘Endless explosion in sight as Edinburgh Trams inquiry receives extra £ 500,000 “, The Herald, December 16) ?

Alexander Johnston, Inchinnan.


RE Letter from Ronald H Oliver (December 22) on misunderstood Christmas carols: leaving “While the shepherds washed their socks at night” and “O star of wonder / star of light / fill my pants with dynamite” for another times, is it time to update the beloved “Hark! the Herald Angels sing / Beechams Pills are just the thing / Deux pour un adult, un pour un enfant “à” Hark! Herald Angels sing – Covid jags are just the right amount / three for an adult “etc?

R Russell Smith, Largs.

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