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David Kerr

Chair: Professor David Kerr CBE FRCP FmedSci

David is Professor of Cancer Medicine at the University of Oxford and one of the world’s leading oncologists. He is best known in Scotland as the author of the 2005 review of the NHS, which proposed far-reaching reforms into the working practices of the NHS. He has advised governments in both the UK and around the world and has brought worldwide attention to the looming surge in cancer cases in Africa. Born in Maryhill, Glasgow, he now lives in Oxford.


The NHS is the best-loved British institution: a UK wide service based on common values and principles. We all agree that healthcare in the UK should be based on need, not on a credit card.

As the delivery of the Covid vaccine has shown, our individual health relies upon the NHS, governments and businesses sharing expertise and knowledge. With the lessons of the pandemic fresh in our minds, the Health Commission will examine how greater cooperation across the United Kingdom can be of value to the NHS and to patients in Scotland.

We intend to look at the following areas: 

NHS Care: How can greater cooperation support specialised services, the provision of medicine, and the procurement of NHS services in Scotland?

Research: Scottish Universities and researchers are among the best in the world in the field of medical research – how can we ensure deeper collaboration across the UK and continue to make breakthroughs in healthcare which increasingly rely on very large amounts of information?

Technology: Huge development are coming to medicine. What should be done on a UK wide basis to give people in Scotland the personalised health care they want?

Inequalities: Across the UK, there is a widening health gap between the rich and poor. How can we share knowledge and expertise to ensure greater health equity?


Crisis Management: The UK and Scottish Governments Working Together During the Pandemic

More than any event since the advent of devolution in 1999, the Covid pandemic brought the various governments of the UK together in the face of a common threat. In January 2020, it was hard to imagine Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnson sharing any political priorities in common. By March 2020, just a few weeks later, they had the same, single, overwhelming issue on their agenda. This paper examines how the UK Government and the Scottish Government cooperated with one another as they faced this shared emergency and makes recommendations as to how we can learn the lessons of the pandemic to cooperate better in future to protect the health and wellbeing of people in Scotland.

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At Our Scottish Future, we believe Scotland can do better.

We can have a better politics than one of constant division and suspicion.

We can to do better on protecting our NHS, fighting poverty and inequality, and on saving our shared environment.

And we can do better by better cooperation, because not only are we united with our fellow Scots in looking for something better, but with people across the UK.

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COP26 demonstrated once again that we cannot make change happen in the world without making it together. That’s why we’re calling for a COP UK to:

  • Agree common regulatory pathways
  • Distribute resources fairly, to support a fair transition across the UK
  • Bring together devolved authorities and nations, so that we can commit individually and collectively to carbon targets

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