Health professions unite to call for NHS changes

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SCOTTISH medical and nursing leaders today issued an unprecedented call for a change in direction if the NHS is to be sustained for future generations.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties in Scotland and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland united to demand changes to targets, more public debate, new ways of delivering care and better collaboration between health professionals.

Their joint statement called for “bold and visionary” action to face growing challenges, such as an ageing population, budget pressures and rising public expectations.

They also highlighted Scotland’s “persistent health inequalities” as a further burden on the struggling health service.

Theresa Fyffe, director of the RCN Scotland, said: “Tinkering around the edges and simply putting more and more money into the current system is not the answer.

“We know we cannot continue to deliver services the way we have done up to now and it is up to us to take a leading role in kickstarting the public debate.”

Scottish Labour health spokeswoman Jenny Marra said: “On a range of measures, from A&E waiting times to delayed discharge and key clinical tests, it is clear our NHS is on the brink of being overwhelmed by demand, if it is not already.

“Today expert institutions are speaking out, in the case of the Royal Colleges in an unprecedented manner, which only highlights the depth of concern about the condition of the Scottish NHS.”

Health Secretary Shona Robison insisted significant progress had been made by slashing waiting times, reducing hospital superbugs and working towards integrating health and social care. She added: “But we fundamentally agree with the proposition that we need to change and evolve our health and social care services.”

lizzy.buchan@edinburghnews.com