Health services in Scotland are “deteriorating” due to staff and funding not keeping up with demand, a doctors’ organisation have warned.Dr Peter Bennie, chairman of BMA Scotland, said patients are “suffering” due to this gap and that it is behind unprecedented pressure on doctors. He said vacancy levels and targets compound the situation.
Dr Bennie said all parts of the profession are “under pressure like never before”.
He said: “Numerous issues are impacting on our ability to do our jobs. Crucially, while there have been increases in both finances and workforce, this is simply not keeping pace with demand. Doctors struggle with the implications of this on a daily basis, with services deteriorating, patients suffering as a result and more pressure being put on already overworked staff. Equally, the vacancy levels across all parts of the profession are simply not sustainable and have a knock-on effect on those staff in post. This is compounded by political pressure to meet arbitrary targets that often tell us little about quality of care or the outcomes for patients.”
He called for an end to the “arbitrary, politically-driven targets” and a clear plan to reduce the gap between resources and demand.
He added: “We need more concerted action to improve the working lives of doctors and to ensure being a doctor in Scotland is an attractive career.”
READ MORE: Rennie tells Robison: "Resign now."Meanwhile the Scottish Liberal Dems joined Labour in calling for health secretary Shona Robison to resign.
Health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said: "Doctors could not put it in starker terms for the SNP Government.
"Poor decisions and inaction and are hurting staff, patients and services.
"NHS staff are fed up. The Health Secretary has received warning after warning from frontline professionals. We still haven't seen the action needed to end the GP crisis, the investment required to end the scandal of year long waits for critical mental health treatment or the primary care workforce plan that was due last year.
"Shona Robison must accept responsibility. She is obstructing the change we desperately need to see and it is time she resigned."
Scottish Labour's health spokesperson Anas Sarwar MSP said that Shona Robison is "out of her depth, out of ideas and out of time".
He added: "Any attempt to improve patient care is of course welcome.
"But the reality is both patients and hard-working staff have been repeatedly let down by SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison.
"Waiting lists are growing and standards are not being met, while our doctors and nurses are being over worked, under valued and under resourced.
"Labour would use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to invest more in our health service and improve patient care."
READ MORE: Shona Robison defies calls to quit over NHS Tayside crisisA Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We are providing record funding to Scotland’s NHS, and recently announced further investment of more than £350 million in Scotland’s frontline health boards, including additional investment in service reform and improvement of £175 million. NHS staff numbers are also at historically high levels, up by over 13,000 under this government, with more doctors, nursing and midwifery staff now delivering care for the people of Scotland.
“We have already announced a further 55 undergraduate medical training places through the new Scottish Graduate Medical School, and have created an additional 140 medical training places since 2017, ensuring supply continues to meet demand and help support the future consultant and GP workforce.”