The BMA is calling “for a collaborative and sustainably-funded structure, a supportive culture, and a valued workforce” in a new report on the state of secondary care services in Scotland.
The document, entitled Secondary care matters: Shaping the future of safe, sustainable hospital-based healthcare in Scotland, sets out a principles-based approach to shaping secondary care in the region.
Among its key recommendations, the report calls for the cultivation of “a culture of open, honest, transparent working that values employees as its greatest asset, with services led by consultants who are responsible for the teams who deliver those services”.
The report states that hospital doctors currently comprise 8.5 per cent of the total NHS Scotland workforce. The organisation says that although consultant numbers have increased slightly, this is outweighed by the number of consultant vacancies, with BMA figures indicating that the true vacancy rate is almost double official NHS figures.
The document also calls for a re-think of the measures of success in the delivery of health care. It says measures of success must be focussed around quality and outcomes that matter to patients. Decisions around structures and care delivery need to be transparent, demonstrate awareness of consequence, and be responsive to actively-sought views of patients, staff and society, it states.
Commenting on the report, BMA Scotland’s consultants committee chair Simon Barker said: “The care provided in our hospitals suffers from a chronic lack of coherent planning, substantial underfunding that forces impossible prioritisation decisions on front-line clinicians, and undeliverable targets which seem to be driven by arbitrary lengths of time, rather than quality of care.”
He warned that morale is at rock bottom, particularly among senior doctors, and said the system cannot be expected to go on as it was without substantial change.