The British Medical Association (BMA) in Scotland has published five ‘key asks’ which it says should be considered before the health service emerges from the COVID-19 emergency footing.
These include ensuring adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), safeguarding staff wellbeing, giving clarity about the roles of healthcare workers, and effective communication with the public.
The organisation was responding to a consultation by the Scottish Government on how services should be restored, and its key asks largely complement the Scottish Government’s own paper on the issue, called Re-mobilise, Recover, Re-design.
It comes as the latest results of a tracker survey of around 900 doctors in Scotland showed many feared their ability to manage demand as the NHS moved out of emergency arrangements. The tracker also highlighted doctors’ concern about the NHS’s ability to cope with a second wave of COVID-19 cases.
BMA Scotland council chair Lewis Morrison said it was vital to get the NHS back up and running as quickly as could be safely done.
“We completely understand the desire to resume more normal NHS services as lockdown begins to ease,” he said. “But this has to be carefully balanced with the huge scale and complexity of the challenge we face.”
He added: "We already know the NHS cannot cope with a high level of coronavirus as well as everything else.’
Dr Morrison said there were a huge range of issues to consider, from social distancing in NHS settings to the need to give doctors and staff a chance to recuperate from the rigours of dealing with the pandemic. “We also need guaranteed ongoing supplies of PPE and robust testing and isolation of patients before procedures such as operations,” he added.