Debate on NHS donations27th May 2008
Independent MSP Margo MacDonald has said the guidelines regarding donated health equipment by private companies should be made clear.
Her comments came after the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) gave Edinburgh Royal Infirmary a £4 million CT scanner.
The equipment, which can scan for heart defects, will be available to RBS staff for one quarter of the time. NHS Lothian, Edinburgh University and RBS will share use of the scanner.
Professor Allyson Pollock, head of the Centre for International Public Health Policy at Edinburgh University, called the gift "philanthropy with conditions" and one which stood against the health's service's policy of access to healthcare for everyone.
Professor Pollock spoke to BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme: "The whole point is that we have equal access on the basis of need."
"Introducing this system of public private partnership actually undermines that because some people are going to have better access with lesser needs than others."
NHS Lothian medical director Charles Swainson dismissed Professor Pollock's comments as "nonsense".
Mr Swainson added that the scanner would prove to be an excellent resource for the health service and patients because it would be available to them for 75% of the time.
Ms MacDonald said she intended to raise the point in the Scottish Parliament.
She said: "I'm putting a motion down for the parliament, suggesting that before we stray into this territory of conditional charity or gifts to the NHS, we should debate what the ground rules are going to be."
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