HEALTH secretary Shona Robison's claim that Brexit poses the greatest threat to Scotland's NHS since its creation 70 years ago should send a shiver down the spine of every sane person in the country.

Her warning that Scotland's hospitals face losing a huge number of medics, who were born in Europe, due to post Brexit restrictions, brings into sharp focus that leaving the EU isn't just financially and geo-politically stupid, it really is a matter of life and death for ordinary people.

The potential loss of over a third of our doctors would leave the service unable to deliver existing levels of care.

In Scotland the NHS has been protected from the Tory-style erosion we've seen in England, where some services are no longer available and where appointments can be hard to come by.

Let's speak bluntly: Brexit threatens to destroy the postwar consensus, of which the creation of the health service was the defining feature.

As such, Robison is correct to call for a "differentiated immigration policy" from the rest of the UK to allow European nationals to work in Scotland's NHS under existing arrangements after Brexit.

Everything that can be done to prevent the potential loss of NHS staff - who Robison rightly describes as “the beating heart of the service” - must be done. With that in mind, the issue of devolving immigration powers to Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff must be put to the fore and debated - before it is too late for our cherished NHS.