The Department of Health have confirmed that cross-border healthcare arrangements would not be guaranteed to continue should Scotland choose to separate from the rest of the UK.
It comes after statistics showed that thousands of patients in the Borders have benefitted from the cross-borders care arrangements currently in place. In total, Borders patients have been given 21,899 outpatient appointments in England in the last 10 years, and 3,391 inpatient appointments.
Mr Lamont said: “The cross-border care arrangements currently in place between Scotland and England are vital for thousands of Borders patients. For many of them it helps to ensure that they can receive care more quickly and at a location that is often far easier to get to.
“It is therefore hugely concerning that these arrangements might cease to exist in a separate Scotland, and this letter from the Department of Health confirms that there are no guarantees they would continue. Should Scotland vote to leave the union this September it is far from certain that Borders patients would continue to receive cross-border care.
“I know that this will come as a concern to the thousands of Borders patients who every year benefit from being able to access healthcare in England. To lose this ability would not only prove to be a massive inconvenience to them, it could also restrict their access to important medical care.”
John Lamont added: “This letter simply proves that there is no way they [SNP] can guarantee what cross-border care would look like in a separate Scotland. The close bond between our health boards in England and Scotland is hugely beneficial to the Borders and we cannot afford to see this relationship end.”