Urgent NHS Funding Review Urged in Scotland

Managers in the NHS in Scotland indicate that health and social care funding should be urgently reviewed.

Many experienced individuals in the Scottish health service believe that it is becoming increasingly challenging to deliver the desirable NHS standards within existing budgets.

And an organised group of managers have called on the Holyrood governments to deliver an independent review on the matter.

The subject of this review would be to identify how a “fully funded” health service can be maintained in Scotland.

Managers in Partnership (MiP), a trade union for healthcare managers, has recently distributed emails on all candidates in the forthcoming Scottish parliament elections.

This was conducted in an attempt to induce them to pledge to address the future funding of the NHS in Scotland.

While it has been difficult to draw widespread political support for this concept, three SNP candidates have already publicly indicated that they will promote it.

The pledge reads: “I will demand the expectations of the Scottish public for a fully funded NHS are met and that an urgent independent review of health and social care funding be conducted to identify how this can be maintained in the future.”

Wayne Gault, Scottish representative on the national MiP committee, offered his opinion that it can be challenging for NHS managers to raise issues related to funding as it can make them appear “to be disloyal” or as if they are “upsetting the apple cart”.

Gault also indicated his view that addressing the issue at the parliamentary level should be considered particularly important, as the NHS is a particular priority for the general population.

“We thought it was really important colleagues had the opportunity to have their views expressed during election time and hopefully someone will listen to them. The Scottish electorate consistently view the NHS as one of the most cherished political issues. Our members have seen the increasing difficulties NHS Scotland has had in meeting the people’s aspirations for a first class NHS given the available budget.”

In Gault’s estimation there are a triumvirate of issues that are particularly troubling for the long-term future of the health service.

“With an ageing population, rising drug and technology costs, and the legitimate rise in public expectation of quality care, this cannot and should not continue.”

While the funding problem that the NHS faces may be considered complex and insoluble, the fact remains that the government has been persistently warned of the difficulties.

Dr Peter Bennie, chairman of the British Medical Association Scotland, indicated his view that the British Medical Association had publicly stated on several occasions that demand within the health service is significantly outpacing resources available.

“With the election now past, the challenge for politicians – from the Government and opposition – is to find a sustainable way forward for our NHS and set out in greater detail the range and models of services they plan to pursue with the resources they are committing,” Bennie asserted.


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