The parents of these twins live in Wooler, a small town about fifteen miles south-west of Berwick. Their mother went into labour early on 1st July and gave birth to the first twin at home. An ambulance then took her to the nearest hospital, the Borders General, just outside the Scottish town of Melrose, where the other twin was born. Result: an English son and a Scottish daughter. Their father has joked about buying them English and Scottish football shirts respectively.
The future of health services in the event of Scottish independence becoming a reality is the greatest concern that residents of the English Borders have about the SNP referendum proposals. I hope that whatever happens we will never see a situation where any hospital would refuse to admit a woman in premature labour, no matter what her nationality might be. But it may very well be the case that an independent Scotland would not be prepared to pay for residents of England to receive routine health care in its hospitals. If that were so then people in Berwick, Wooler and the surrounding villages will face longer travelling times to hospital, a longer wait for emergency ambulances which are coming from further away and possibly even having to change their GP, because several GP practices have cross-border catchment areas. So far the SNP have said nothing beyond vague reassurances on this subject, and nobody believes that Alex Salmond has ever thought it through.
I once had a frustrating experience trying to get an SPCA inspector to come and rescue an injured bird in Berwick. The English branch based in Newcastle said that Berwick was too far to travel and the Scottish organisation said that they do not work over the border at all. Will we ever see the day when a phone call seeking help for an injured human produces the same response?