These commentaries by John Macgill represent his opinions only and not those of any Ettrickburn client.

Bordering on Problematic

Recognised by the Queen and her community

VACANCY Reporter/Researcher: Health and Care Policy in Scotland

Prescribing in Mental Illness – A Practice Pharmacist’s Perspective

What Matters to You? Communication in Pharmacy

Prescribing in Mental Illness – A Patient’s Perspective

Focusing the Vision: Dr Rose Marie Parr on the new strategy for Scottish pharmacy

All the things that could go wrong - looking ahead to the SNP conference

Ask Once, Get Help Fast? Pharmacy and Mental Health

Automation and Delegation in Pharmacy: Understanding the Moving Parts

Initiatives Highlight Potential of Community Pharmacy

Pharmacy First in Forth Valley One Year On

Trying to concentrate on the day job

Health and the Local Elections – a strange silence

The Pharmacist Will See You Now – The Growth of GP Pharmacy

Montgomery’s Review – Dr Brian Montgomery answers questions on access to new medicines in Scotland

An afternoon with SMC

Pharmacists at SMC

SMC – are drug firms voting with their feet?

Radical Surgery on the Horizon for Scotland’s NHS

The Future’s Bright – in General Practice

Community Pharmacy in a Changing Environment

Disclosing payments to doctors – has Sir Malcolm done the pharma industry a favour?

Health and Care in the First Minister’s Programme for Government

CMO: Scotland’s pharmacists “absolutely ideally placed” to practice Realistic Medicine

Profile: Maree Todd – MSP and Pharmacist

Scottish Parliament Health Committee Work Programme

Scotland’s new NHS – a Summer of Speculation

Scotland’s New Health Committee

Two million voices in Scotland – is integration the big opportunity to listen?

Medicines – levelling the playing field

Key appointment raises the bar for health & social care partnerships

What did our new MSPs do before?

SMC says no then NICE says yes – three times

SNP promises single formulary and a review of Scotland’s NHS

More Generous than the CDF – but less transparent

Comparison of Funds: New Medicines v Cancer Drugs

Bonfire of the Boards? SNP signals NHS Review

A tribute to five retiring MSPs

New Medicines Review - Health Committee sends findings to Government

Medicines New & Old in the Scottish Cancer Strategy

Great Ambitions, Slow Progress – New Models of Care in Scotland

Scottish Minsters Demand Up-Front Medicine Price Negotiation

Opportunity and Disappointment: MSPs Investigate New Medicines Access

Scottish NHS Strategy calls for 'Realistic Medicine'

The Scottish Model of Value for Medicines: Taking Everything into Consideration

When SMC Says No: An Access to Medicines Lottery

Reviewing the Review: Access to New Medicines in Scotland

A day of psephology and kidology

Insulting the Lifesavers

Worthy of Mention – Health and Science in the Honours List

News Silence from North of the Border

A Christmas PPRS Present from Pharma

Friday, February 23, 2018: Bordering on Problematic

The Week in Scotland

This article is published in the Industry News section of the PubAffairs website

Link to Article

Scotland this week voted through a change in its income tax system. New bands will mean that the take-home pay of better-off people living in Scotland will be a bit less than their counterparts on the same salary in England. This creates an intriguing situation for companies I work with that have operations, perhaps one hundred miles apart, on either side of the Scotland England border.

As the budget was well covered here a few weeks ago, I can focus on another Scottish Parliament debate, held yesterday, on migration: specifically, the nation’s need for people from other countries to choose Scotland as a place to settle, to live, to work and to lay down roots.

Scotland’s population growth forecasts are almost entirely based on migration. Some of our biggest industries – tourism being the biggest – rely heavily for their success on thousands of people coming for short seasons or long years to plug skills shortages. Scotland’s universities enjoy income, and cultural enrichment, from 30,000 students from outside the UK. 

Migration policy is, however, reserved to Westminster. Scotland’s is only one voice amongst many in the debate, and the Scottish Government’s desire to increase immigration is not shared everywhere in the UK. The Fresh Talent post-study work visa programme, the only notable attempt to do something different in Scotland by allowing foreign students graduating in Scotland to stay on to work for two years, only lasted four years before being taken over by the Home Office and later scrapped.

In the run up to the Scottish independence referendum, the Scottish Government’s independence manifesto, Scotland’s Future, Your Guide to an Independent Scotland talked of a Common Travel Area with the rest of the UK and Ireland. It promised an independent Scotland would have it own “controlled, transparent and efficient immigration system”, and a “points-based approach targeted at particular Scottish requirements”. 

The proposal was met with ridicule by the UK Government. How, they asked, could you have two immigration systems divided by a porous, open border? How long would people moving to Scotland wait before catching the night bus south?

But now it appears that some borders are different from others. The same UK Government party that raised the fundamental issue of Scotland’s unpoliceable 97-mile border is looking to achieve ‘frictionless’ crossing of the 310-mile boundary between Northern Ireland and the Republic, soon to be the only land boundary between the EU and the UK. Ulster Unionist politicians are adamant that this must not mean that the true EU UK border simply moves to the middle of the Irish Sea. 

Scottish ministers want an end to the UK’s one-size-fits-all approach to immigration, but Brexit and borders are conspiring against them. With no clarity from the UK Government on migration policy post Brexit, Scottish ministers can only watch and wait. And the only thing they can offer companies wondering how they will staff their Scottish operations in the years ahead, is sympathy.