In welcoming Humza Yousaf MSP to his new role as Cabinet Secretary for Health, BMA Scotland chair Dr Lewis Morrison also warned that if NHS Scotland is to be sustainable for the long-term then there needs to be a whole system approach to remobilisation and recovery.
Dr Lewis Morrison said:
“I welcome Humza to his new role as Cabinet Secretary for health and look forward to working with him and the new Scottish Government in ensuring that doctors, health professionals and the public continue to have access to, and work in, a sustainable and genuinely world class national health service in Scotland. I hope that working in genuine partnership we can build on the innovation and leadership healthcare professionals have shown through the COVID-19 pandemic as NHS Scotland recovers and we ensure it is fit for purpose for the years to come.
“This new administration and the Cabinet Secretary must be realistic about what doctors and NHS Scotland are able to deliver with current staff and resources, especially as Covid will continue to have an impact on almost everything we do for a long time to come. Across both primary and secondary care, doctors and their teams are under more pressure than ever before; many are tired and at risk of burn-out. NHS recovery must be synonymous with staff recovery as we look to provide a more normal NHS service - recuperation from what has been the most challenging year of people’s careers in healthcare is an essential part of repairing the NHS. As we strive to provide care for all those who need it, including that which has been paused or delayed, clear communications to patients and the public about what they can realistically expect are crucial.
“As we move forward through and then beyond the next few critical months BMA Scotland believes it is time for a honest conversation with the public, healthcare professionals and politicians alike, about what we need NHS Scotland to deliver in the long term, and a crucially we need a proper plan to recruit and retain the staff that that will require. This needs to be done in a way that puts staff wellbeing at the front and centre and by ensuring services and working environments that are safe for both patients and staff.
“Only when we are truly honest about scale of the challenge ahead can we start to assure the future of NHS Scotland - and that challenge can only be met by everyone involved genuinely working together.”