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Rennie: NHS must be at the heart of the case for the UK

February 21, 2020 10:00 AM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

The NHS should be at the heart of the case for United Kingdom according to the Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

Willie Rennie will tell the These Islands Conference in Newcastle that the case for Scotland's place in the United Kingdom should show how caring and compassionate the people of our country have been collectively. He will say that the pro-UK campaigners should not be shy about our common achievements like the NHS and should reach out to talk about issues beyond the economic strength that comes with a single UK market.

Willie Rennie is expected to say:

"Everyone who wants to keep our country together must be loud and proud about the UK's greatest achievement - the NHS. We won the economic argument in 2014, now we need to win the argument about how caring and compassionate the people of the United Kingdom have been and continue to be.

"No other country in the world has created such a much loved and valued health service. It shows what the United Kingdom can do and will continue to do.

"In comparison with the healthcare systems of ten other countries from Australia to Canada to France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA, the NHS was found to be the most impressive overall by the Commonwealth Fund in 2017.

"Every year are over 25million attendances at A&E and 20million admissions to hospital.

"It's the fifth largest employer in the world.

"We've forged it together. We've maintained it together. We're all equally proud of it. The NHS shows what the United Kingdom can do. Together we can achieve so much more.

"The NHS is not just a monument, it's a vital service whose funding base is stronger by virtue of being part of a wider pool of resources. If funding in Scotland, or the North East, or anywhere else in the UK dips this doesn't throw the future of the NHS into doubt. Rather, as a UK family, our nations and regions support one another to ensure smooth and stable funding for this most precious asset and the millions of citizens who rely on it day in, day out.

"We should not allow those who want to break up our country to demonise the United Kingdom, so we should be putting the best of our country at the heart of our campaign."