Welcome for National Conversation on future of NHS in Scotland

The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (“the College”) is welcoming confirmation by the Cabinet Secretary for Health & Social Care, Neil Gray MSP, of the Scottish Government’s plans for a national conversation on the future of health and social care in Scotland. Details were provided in Tuesday’s Parliamentary debate on the Scottish Government’s vision for health and social care of the “Government-led national engagement.”

Speaking today Professor Andrew Elder, President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, said:

I very much welcome the confirmation from the Cabinet Secretary in Parliament that the Scottish Government is committed to a comprehensive national conversation on the future sustainability  of our health and social care services. I have long called for this to take place and it is something that is urgently needed as the pressures on health and social care continue to increase relentlessly.

Fundamentally, we recognise that the current level of funding available means we cannot provide everything that modern healthcare can now offer from “cradle to grave”. As a result we must have a debate about whether we increase funding, through direct taxation or some other means, or make reasoned decisions about what we can and cannot provide from the public purse. We cannot continue to pretend that we can do everything for everybody all of the time with no change in funding; this would only let down patients.

The College looks forward to contributing positively to the national conversation and providing clinical views based on the expert knowledge of our Fellows and Members. And, as I have said before, while politicians will have their say, and doctors can and will wish to advise, the NHS belongs to the public and they must have the main say in its future direction.