Leader comment: Ills of the NHS need to be tackled

A patient waits to see the GP. Pic: Ian Georgeson
A patient waits to see the GP. Pic: Ian Georgeson
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Everyone knows the NHS can no longer deliver everything we expect of it.

You would have to have lived in a cave not to know about the strain being placed on the health service by the longer lives so many of us are living and the new treatments being created by scientific advances. A massive cash injection - were it possible - would not cure all the ills of the NHS.

So it is inevitable - and quite right - that new ways of delivering care are explored. The future of the NHS will involve embracing new technology and more cost-efficient ways of working.

The trial that NHS Lothian is about to embark on in Musselburgh has sensible aims.

Why should people who don’t really need to see a GP not go to the pharmacist or read expert advice online instead? That will work for some people in some situations. The difficult bit will be working out who and when.

Some, especially from older generations, won’t be comfortable discussing particular health concerns with someone other than the family doctor. That must be respected or the risk is serious problems go undiagnosed.

This pilot scheme must be closely scrutinised before it can be spread more widely.