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The devolution settlement with elections thereafter in 1999 established the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly with differing levels of devolved responsibilities.1 Some issues such as foreign policy and defence remained under the control of the UK Parliament in Westminster (‘reserved’ matters), whilst responsibility for issues such as education, criminal justice and health were ‘devolved’ or ‘transferred’. There is therefore no longer a single National Health Service (NHS) in Britain; there are in fact four, each with their own health ministers, chief medical and nursing officers and so on. The impressively titled ‘United Kingdom Secretary of State of Health’ is in fact simply the English health minister who is not an Uber Fuhrer in overall charge of the other health ministers. Similarly, structures such as the Department of Health and the recent reforms in the 2012 Health and Social Care Act only apply to the NHS in England.2
Like many organisations, the British Association for Sexual Health & HIV (BASHH) has …
Contributors RN conceived and drafted the article. RN is a member of the BASHH Board and is employed by the NHS in Scotland. The views are expressed are his own and not necessarily those of BASHH or his employers.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.
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