NHS facing tough funding choices
26 November 2012
The BMA has warned that tough choices must be made about what the health service can afford.
The warning came after the publication of a report praising the NHS in Scotland for its ‘best ever’ performance.
BMA Scottish council chair Brian Keighley said politicians and managers must take a long-term view, and work with doctors to identify how services could be made more efficient without compromising patient care.
He was speaking on publication of the NHS Scotland chief executive’s annual report on the performance of the NHS.
According to Derek Feeley, in 2011/12 the service exceed previous high points in key areas such as waiting times, patient safety and mortality.
Mr Feeley said: ‘In a number of important areas of patient care, NHS Scotland has delivered its best ever performance during the past 12 months. Those achievements, I believe, are the result of the relentless commitment of all NHS Scotland staff to improving the quality of care.’
Dr Keighley said the high standard of performance was ‘testimony to hard-working staff, who find themselves under increasing pressure to achieve targets while staffing numbers and budgets fall’.
He added: ‘Our NHS is facing tough times and, as financial pressures mount, tough choices will need to be made about what the NHS can and cannot afford to deliver.’
He said doctors were at the heart of the service, and best placed to ‘provide strong clinical leadership and identify waste’.
Mr Feeley said he was keen to stress that there was no complacency in the service, in a year that included a scandal involving manipulated waiting lists and accusations of a culture of bullying in one of Scotland’s largest health boards.
He said: ‘There have been particular instances over the past 12 months where the NHS has not been at its best. We are determined to learn from those events, and to use the experience to accelerate our improvement.’