posted on 17th September 2014
(Photo courtesy of The Guardian)
Polling stations are buzzing today as millions of Scots turn out to cast their vote in the referendum on Scottish Independence.
Many powers concerning health care are currently devolved to the Scottish Parliament, such as health policy and community pharmacy funding, though some powers remain reserved by the UK government - The Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme, for instance.
A no vote would lead to further negotiations between devolving more powers to Scotland, but a yes vote would mean responsibility for all health concerns rest in Scottish hands.
Its likely also that an independent Scotland will look to the pharmaceutical industry for inward investment. Using low-taxation, skilled graduates and investment in research, Ireland has built up a successful life sciences industry. Could we see the same north of the border?
The Pharmaceutical Journal has a very in-depth article outlining the wider changes, looking at medicine, education and regulation.
While the implications of the vote might really be low, with nothing much changing...there is the human factor to bear in mind too.
Dotted across the border in Northern England, are pockets of towns, villages and hamlets..all within driving distance of pharmacies in Scotland. In fact, many communities in England are served by Scottish pharmacies.
A quarter of all patients at The Coldstream Practice, which lies just a few hundred yards inside Scotland, live in England. Two differing health care systems could have a big impact on these people. For instance, being sent to a hospital 50 miles away in England rather than a local hospital which has traditionally served them.
Whichever way the vote goes, it will be interesting to see the health care reforms brought in. Perhaps devolving more power can lead to all countries in the British Isles helping eachother to build a better health care system for us all.
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