In response to the Scottish budget statement, Chair of BMA Scotland, Dr Lewis Morrison said:
“Of course, extra funding for our NHS is always welcome. It is clear that the repeated warnings made by the BMA and many other organisations about how stretched and under resourced our health service is are beginning to register fully with politicians.
“But we also have to acknowledge that there is still a long way to go to deliver an NHS that is effectively resourced to meet ever growing demand. In October last year Audit Scotland warned again that our NHS is seriously struggling to become financially sustainable, with a potential funding gap of £1.8 billion by 2023/24.
“This just shows the massive scale of the challenge and there must remain serious concerns about how this gap will be bridged. Indeed, it seems likely that even given today’s funding package, NHS boards will go on having to make efficiency savings which are harder and harder to find. At the same time they are coping with a chronic shortage of staff and being set unrealistic targets. The sums just don’t add up on the frontline of healthcare delivery. Put frankly, that means doctors and the teams they work in face a daily struggle to deliver the kind of quality care that we all aspire to and patients deserve. Those delivering that care should expect working conditions and pay that reflect their commitment to patient care.
“That is why the Government must also build on this increase in funding by holding an honest conversation with the public about the future delivery of health and social care services in Scotland. They must then develop an urgent, clear and realistic plan to deliver a properly resourced NHS – both in terms of funding and staffing, – to meet the needs for health and social care in the long term.”
On the publication of the Public Sector Pay Policy, Dr Morrison said:
“Last year the Scottish Government went beyond the limitations of the public sector pay policy for our most senior doctors – which was a welcome step – reflecting the years of dedicated service they have put in to care for the people of Scotland. Looking at the longer term picture however, this did little to reverse the years of real terms pay erosion doctors have suffered. If the Government return to their previous insistence on applying the public sector pay policy again, this would see our most senior doctors singled out for the lowest pay increase – which would be unacceptable. While we await the recommendations of the DDRB, it is clear the Scottish Government must continue to show they value the contribution of senior doctors and build on the limited progress of last year by again going beyond the cap the pay policy sets. By doing so they will ensure that, at a time when we face major shortages of doctors, everything possible is being done to make medicine an attractive career choice.”