Scotland faces ‘real’ NHS funding gap, doctors warn

Peter Bennie. Picture: Contributed
Peter Bennie. Picture: Contributed
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The NHS funding gap is “just as real in Scotland” as other parts of the UK, the chairman of the organisation which represents doctors has warned.

Dr Peter Bennie, of the British Medical Association (BMA) Scotland, said the gap means the country will not have enough money over the next five years to provide all the services patients require without “urgent and significant change”.

The warning came yesterday ahead of his address to the BMA’s annual meeting in Belfast, in which he will also set out some of the organisation’s most pressing concerns, including targets “skewing” clinical priorities, GP shortages, excessive workloads and recruitment problems.

Dr Bennie will say: “With the impact of a growing, ageing population, who require more support from health services as they manage multiple complex healthcare needs, the pressure on doctors to respond to these rising demands is escalating, with a workforce with growing gaps and insufficient funding.

“We have warned repeatedly that rapidly-increasing demands on Scotland’s NHS are outstripping available resources and creating a funding gap that cannot be ignored. We see the effects of that on the system every day. The challenge for our politicians is to find a genuinely sustainable way forward for our NHS.”

Dr Bennie will highlight Scottish Government plans to shift healthcare from hospitals to the community, establish elective treatment centres and integrate health and social care. He will add that there has been “little evidence” of the government’s aim to put clinicians at the centre of redesigning care.