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Devolution...can seriously damage health


According to a report from the Nuffield Trust, devolution is weakening Britain’s ability to influence the EU’s growing hold over health policy. The negative influence of the EU on a supranational level is being met by diminished ability to assert national priorities as a result of the internal fragmentation caused by devolution.

Political conflict between ministers representing each of Britain’s “nations” means, says the report’s author, Paul Jervis, that devolution has “inexorably reduced Britain’s ability to create a single united ‘line’”.

The author, a senior Research Fellow at The London School of Economics said, “There is a real risk that health policy will be made not by health policy-makers but by EU lawyers, econo-mics ministers, or other groups that do not understand or sympathise with the specific problems in goals of health policy.”

A further problem highlighted has been that many of those working in the Department of Health “lack the networks of traditional civil servants that underpin information sharing and handling interdepartmental relations”. In plain English, they are not civil servants but people imported from the private sector who do not have Britain’s overarching health needs at the heart of their work.