In response to today’s budget statement made by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Chair of BMA Scotland, Dr Lewis Morrison, said:
“BMA Scotland welcome the increase in funding for health and care. The NHS has been under unprecedented pressure with the COVID-19 pandemic over the last year, and our workforce, services and capacity have been stretched like never before. Staff across both primary and secondary services have been working flat out in highly pressurised and stressful circumstances. It is paramount they are supported and have all the resources they need to deliver the best possible care under the current circumstances. More funding for the system as a whole can only help that.
“And while we welcome the increase in funding, we also recognise that short-term boosts won’t be enough to deliver the full recovery our NHS needs, or place our NHS on a secure and sustainable footing well into the future. Indeed, now is the time to be honest about the NHS. We know that before the pandemic our health service was understaffed, under-resourced and under unrelenting pressure. The fact that the NHS has managed to cope with the pandemic and go and beyond is testament to the unrelenting commitment of the workforce. But we need to be honest about what the NHS can continue to deliver with the available resources.
“When we talk about NHS recovery, this must mean the recovery of the staff who have been through the toughest of times over the last year. The staff are the NHS’s most precious resource and it is them we will be asking to lead the remobilisation of services – they can’t and won’t be able to do that effectively unless we invest properly to support them in their own recovery. As we look to the future, we must take account of the new pressures that will exist on NHS services, as well as the crucial need for recovery and respite for health and care staff, many of whom are close to burnout. That is why increases in funding must lead to investment in our staff, in their health and wellbeing, in making sure they have access to the support services they need for their own wellbeing and ensure they remain part of the workforce, in making sure that the NHS is appropriately and safely staffed and also ensuring that Scotland is an attractive place to live and work as a doctor.
“It is the staff who bear the brunt of the unrealistic expectations sold to the public about what can be achieved. It is only when we start being honest about what level of care is possible can we start to do that and create a stable future for the NHS in Scotland.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors and medical students in the UK.
A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.