The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow has set out its policy priorities for the next Scottish Parliament in a new document published today.
The document This is what we stand for: Our Holyrood Election Manifesto is published after a year where the pandemic has placed a huge burden on Scotland’s health services and all who work in them.
In this, we have called upon the next Scottish Government to urgently address the issues outlined in our College’s manifesto which we believe are so pressing, they threaten the future viability of the NHS.
The document highlights key areas of focus including:
- In meeting the challenge of COVID-19, the speed of decision making, innovative thinking and breaking through bureaucracy has served the health service well. The same approach will be needed to create the shape of the workforce going forward. The NHS needs to maintain its morale, resilience and to achieve adequate staffing levels.
- There is an urgent need to address the workforce crisis by increasing the supply of medical professionals, and taking action to retain those who already work in the NHS.
- It is vital to provide the existing workforce with adequate time to heal from the pandemic before activity ramps up to start on bringing waiting lists down.
- Despite the advancement of previously under-represented groups in the wider NHS workforce, more work requires to be done to ensure that those in leadership roles within the Health Service are representative of the wider workforce and general population.
- The next Scottish Government should work with employers to increase the proportion of under-represented demographic groups represented within leadership roles
- Ensuring that everyone has income at a level that supports healthy living, through policies such as progressive taxation and guaranteed minimum income.
- Taking bold action to address the societal damage of drug and alcohol misuse.
Introducing the document, College President Professor Jackie Taylor said:
“While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to generate enormous challenges, we are proud of the vital part our membership has played in providing excellent patient care. Our Fellows and Members have shown leadership, flexibility and professionalism, ensuring that health services across Scotland and beyond were able to adapt at a breath-taking pace to meet the challenges of the pandemic.
“Although the pandemic brought the best out of our NHS and its staff, it has also highlighted and exacerbated the ongoing challenges that we have faced over the past few years.
“There needs to be a long and potentially uncomfortable look at some of the reasons why our medical talent is leaving the NHS. To be able to do this, we need to show the innovation which has been so apparent during the past year where solutions were found quickly and innovation broke through layers of bureaucracy.
“There are key areas which need to be addressed urgently”.