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Government attacked over health link

THE Scottish Government has been criticised for failing to support a policy of boycotting Israeli goods and services after the military offensive in Gaza.

It has emerged that the NHS has been working with Israeli health giant Maccabi Healthcare Services since January to develop a new IT system to improve care for people with chronic diseases.

The system is being piloted in NHS Orkney before being potentially being rolled out nationally.

The Scottish Centre for Telehealth and Telcare (SCTT), part of NHS 24, and the Digital Health Institute (DHI), a partnership between public and private organisations has been working with NHS Orkney and Maccabi, which is part-funded by the Israeli government, to test the technology.

Documents seen by the Sunday Herald show SCTT has been providing technical support and advice, and DHI has been evaluating the project.

At the end of January, NHS Orkney, the SCTT, DHI and Maccabi held an event to outline the plans.

Mick Napier, chairman of the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, said the project, and any other links with Israeli companies, should be stopped.

More than 1900 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed in four weeks of Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip. Sixty-seven people have died on the Israeli side, three of them civilians.

Amnesty International has published evidence the Israeli Defence Force targeted hospitals, health workers and ambulance staff during the attack.

Napier said: "There's a Palestinian appeal endorsed by every section of Palestinian society asking people around the world to support their call for a comprehensive boycott on everything connected with the Israeli state, or anything that enlarges their tax base to sustain their militarised genocidal attack on Gaza. We would support the Palestinian appeal to the Scottish Government to sever links.

"There are alternative partners available around the world and Maccabi Healthcare is highly inappropriate."

NHS Orkney did not comment on the project.

A Scottish Government spokesman said NHS Scotland had no contractual or commercial reltionship with Maccabi.

He added: "We do not have a policy of boycotting Israel. We believe engagement with the Israeli Government provides us with an opportunity to call for a peaceful resolution."

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