In the lead-up to the Scottish Parliament elections on 6 May 2021, the British Medical Association (BMA) and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties in Scotland (the Scottish Academy) have issued a joint statement. The statement (given in full below) warns that all political parties and their candidates standing for election should not raise unrealistic public expectation of the NHS in Scotland, without establishing how these promises can be fulfilled and in the timescales given.
The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties in Scotland – known as the “Scottish Academy” – contributes to improvements in the health of the people of Scotland by the promotion and co-ordination of the work of the Medical Royal College and Faculties. The Scottish Academy gives the medical professions a collective voice on clinical and professional issues. The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow is proud of be a part of the Scottish Academy and has an active role supporting its main objectives.
These objectives are:
- To ensure patient safety is maximised by maintaining and improving standards within the profession.
- To provide a co-ordinated voice from the specialties in relation to education, training, clinical standards and effectiveness and research and quality which are supported and promoted by all constituent members.
- To co-ordinate and exchange expertise across the Colleges and Faculties in all areas of training, medical education and revalidation.
- To support improved medical workforce planning in Scotland to recruit and retain the highest quality doctors.
The Statement issued today bears the signature of Dr Lewis Morrison, Chair, BMA Scotland and Dr Miles Mack, Chair, Scottish Academy.
There is real concern that political parties are raising unrealistic public expectations of the potential activity of NHS in Scotland in the run up to the Holyrood election, without establishing how to create the capacity to deliver on these promises, especially in the timescales being talked about.
We fully support the need to urgently address the healthcare needs of patients whose assessment, investigation or treatment may have been paused or delayed as a result of the pandemic, and will of course be continuing to do our very best to do this. However, this needs to be supported by an increase in capacity and workforce.
And we cannot ignore the health and wellbeing of NHS staff who are already under severe pressure due to COVID-19 and suffering the physical and mental impact that this has had. In the final weeks of campaigning and when the new Scottish Government is formed, communication with the public must be realistic, and the delivery of services must be balanced with our current capacity and developed in association with NHS Scotland, the BMA, the Scottish Academy and Royal Colleges and other organisations in a position to advise on what is achievable.