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Call to debate investment in NHS

The Academy of Royal Colleges and Faculties in Scotland and Royal College of Nursing have warned that difficult decisions need to be made about how money is invested in the NHS.

In a joint statement, they have called for change in four key areas: a genuine public debate on change; a new approach to targets; new ways of delivering care; and improved inter-professional working. 

Ian Ritchie, the chair of the academy and president of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, said the academy and the RCN had made commitments to drive change forward in all these areas — and called on others, including the Scottish Government, to take practical action.

‘We know that the way services are delivered has not kept up with the advances in patient care and treatment. 

'What we require, urgently, is to develop new models of care, which are fit for the future. And, given that it’s our members who will have to implement these new models of care, we are committed to working across our health service to make sure this happens.’ 

BMA blessing

BMA Scotland chair Peter Bennie said the organisation backed the key messages in the joint statement. 

‘It is vital that change is informed by those who work in the service and those who can see where the real pressure points are. 

‘We need to develop a more mature, evidence-based approach to driving quality by changing how we measure and set targets so that we do not skew clinical judgement, and allow the flexibility to prioritise patients with the greatest clinical need.’

He said that the public and politicians from all parties should be part of the debate around the future of the NHS in Scotland. 

‘This paper represents a significant first step towards creating an environment for an open and honest debate about the future of the NHS in Scotland,’ Dr Bennie added.