Scottish Independence Affecting Pharmacy

Published: 15th September, 2014 in: News

Aye or Nae: What does the Scottish Referendum mean to Pharmacy and NHS?

It’s the story that’s been in the news for the last few months, provoking the opinions of many across the entire UK: Scottish Independence.

Many issues have been highlighted by both the Yes and No campaigners, but recently the discussion around the NHS and pharmacy has been brought to the fore by both sides.

It has been suggested by Alex MacKinnin, the RPS director for Scotland, that there isn’t going to be any significant change to pharmacy, there are some strong for and against points that suggest changes to the NHS and NHS jobs.

A change anticipated by the superintendent pharmacist of TLS Pharmacy Group, James Semple, is that “independence could make Scotland a wealthier country” and “it could result in an independent regulator for Scotland” although “The General Pharmaceutical Council, which is responsible for pharmacy regulation across Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland), is making no plans for independence yet.”

Another factor to consider for pharmacies and other companies is the impact Scottish Independence may have on postage. It has been reported that if Scotland gains independence it risks soaring stamp prices and could potentially lose Royal Mail services. Royal Mail currently delivers anywhere in Britain for a single price, however an independent Scotland would be forced by EU to establish its own postal service.*

For Scottish independence regarding pharmacy:

  • Alex Salmond’s SNP has pledged to inject an additional £826 million into the health budget over “the next few years” under its plans for independence.
  • It has also promised to redirect resources to frontline healthcare, for example by reducing the number of senior managers in the NHS by 25%
  • Its goal is to make referral time for treatments no longer than 18 weeks
  • It will set up a new watchdog to ensure hospital wards are kept clean and reduce hospital-acquired infections

Against Scottish independence regarding pharmacy:

  • Staying in the UK means resources can be pooled across 63 million people rather than just 5 million, says the Better Together campaign organised by Alistair Darling
  • It says health spend per head is £2115 in Scotland – higher than anywhere else in the UK – and this would put a “severe strain” on Scotland’s finances if it were to become independent
  • It points out that the Institute for Fiscal Studies estimates an independent Scotland would face between £3 billion and £10 billion of cuts or tax increases – equivalent to an 8% cut overall in public services
  • Some treatments would also be too specialised to be cost effective in a country of 5 million, it argues.

We at Weldricks have many customers in Scotland and would love to hear what you think on the subject; let us know by simply leaving a comment.