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Health to get a higher priority in post-devolution Scotland

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.318.7176.80 (Published 09 January 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:80

Devolution looks set to produce more radical healthcare policies in Scotland, such as “no fault” compensation, but could threaten higher funding. Health minister Sam Galbraith tells Bryan Christie what he hopes the advent of a Scottish Parliament will achieve

It was a simple statement buried in the body of the text of the Scottish white paper on health, Designed to Care, yet it coloured everything around it: “Sometimes changes have been made in Scotland to reflect changes in England rather than in response to specific Scottish needs.” It went on to forecast that the establishment of the Scottish parliament would create a Scottish NHS more finely tuned and more rapidly responsive to Scottish needs.

In those two sentences a new direction was set for the Scottish health service as it unhooks itself from its bigger partner south of the border. Since then, the beginnings of a new identity have been forged in a process which looks certain to accelerate after the parliament opens in July. Scotland's health service is entering a period of substantial opportunity, offset by an element of incalculable risk. Sam Galbraith, the current Scottish health minister, hopes to be at the centre of it.

He is …

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