This article was originally produced for the ESRC Future of the UK and Scotland blog on 2 December 2013.
The recently published Scottish White Paper on independence includes a relatively small section on health, social care and the NHS (pages 170-176), as part of a larger chapter on Health, Wellbeing and Social Protection (chapter 4). Like the rest of the document, the narrative is very positive in explaining the many benefits that have come with devolution, such as allowing Scotland to respond to its own national needs, which are different from the rest of the UK. The unique challenges that continue to face Scotland are also outlined and full independence is presented as creating new opportunities to respond to these more effectively. As many commentators have pointed out, however, the document is weighty in terms of the sheer volume of pages, but rather light on detail. This is perhaps unsurprising when considering the range of issues that are implicated in the independence debate.
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