As a former urological surgeon I welcome the decision by the SMC (Scottish Medicines Consortium) to approve abiraterone for use in the NHS but am concerned at the delay experienced by patients with prostate cancer in a devolved Scotland ("NHS patients win battle for Megrahi cancer drug" and "Welcome, if perhaps belated, ruling on prostate cancer drug", The Herald, August 13).
Gordon Brown warns about the financial consequences for the health service in an independent Scotland which is already diverging from the market-led approach south of the Border.
The SNP has been curiously quiet about its future. Nicola Sturgeon claims independence would protect the Scottish health service from future cuts to spending in the English NHS as hospitals in England get more of their money from private patients under the Health and Social Care Bill reforms, and of course Scotland would be responsible for raising its own taxes. Whether this would provide acceptable funding remains to be seen.
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