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The Dinwoodie Interview

OVER the last 30 years as the NHS in England has been systematically dismantled as a public service and opened up to private providers operating for profit, and Scotland was swamped with PFI deals which threaten to bankrupt our health service in decades to come, the strongest voice in drawing attention to this has been a Scottish doctor turned public health expert, Allyson Pollock.

Few academics, certainly in the health field, have been so vilified publicly and privately by both Labour and Conservative politicians as Allyson Pollock. I have personal experience of this in the early days of the New Labour era, when I was told by a junior Minister to disregard her criticisms of the Private Finance Initiative because she was “just a Trot.” Naturally, that simply made me want to seek her views and analysis more than ever and she was always superb at imparting her expertise in lay terms.

When the Conservatives regained power the hate-hate relationship continued. If you were told that during his unhappy tenure as Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt had a dartboard in his office with Pollock’s photo on it you would not be surprised. And while she sympathised with the SNP Government’s attempts to replace PFI, she believes their attempts at a non-profit version remain flawed. She was also vocal about the shortcomings in the care of her late father in his final days and is still pursuing this with NHS Forth Valley. She has never carried a party card in her life. In short, she calls things how she sees them.

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Issue 56 of the award winning iScot Magazine containing the very best writing talent in Scotland today is now ready for download