Secondary care matters: Shaping the future of safe, sustainable hospital-based healthcare in Scotland | Association of Anaesthetists

Secondary care matters: Shaping the future of safe, sustainable hospital-based healthcare in Scotland

Secondary care matters:  Shaping the future of safe, sustainable hospital-based healthcare in Scotland

Friday 24 January 2020

In August 2019 BMA Scotland published its vision for secondary care in Scotland, titled ‘Secondary Care Matters – shaping the future of safe, sustainable hospital-based healthcare in Scotland’.

The document calls for sustainable funding, a supportive structure and a valued workforce. The Association strongly agrees and welcomes the fresh vision laid out by BMA Scotland.

The document recognises the immense scale of the workforce and workload crisis and also highlights the largely neglected issue of the punitive UK pension tax regime. In this regard, we fully support the BMA Scotland’s call for the Scottish Government to recognise this very significant issue and to engage in seeking solutions.

The specific risks around fatigue are recognised, issues on which we are actively campaigning, and we endorse BMA Scotland’s call for adequate rest and catering facilities as these can impact significantly on healthcare professionals’ performance as well as on the attractiveness of working in Scotland. Like the Association, the BMA is seeking better rest facilities for doctors and urging the Scottish Government to prioritise this.

Dr. Paul Bourke, convenor of the Association’s Scottish Standing Committee commented: “We would like to use this as an opportunity to make clear that there is a correlation between workforce pressure and staff wellbeing. A change in one almost always affects the other and it would be very unusual to find a hospital or department with deteriorating workforce issues where wellbeing is not also worsening.”

Addressing workforce issues is of the utmost importance especially because of the knock-on effect it has on wellbeing. Association President Dr. Kathleen Ferguson added: “This must be based on sustainable job plans, ensuring people feel valued and that there is a sense of joy in the workplace.”

The Association backs BMA Scotland in calling for the Scottish Government to address the impact of the punitive UK pension tax on senior NHS staff. We believe that, even after the pension crisis is solved, older anaesthetists should be encouraged to stay in the workforce longer as their contribution is necessary to deliver the service given the rising demand. In this regard, we also appreciate that the report calls for more support for senior hospital doctors for continuous professional development, mental health and wellbeing.

We commend the BMA Scotland for their effort to bring secondary care-specific areas of concern for healthcare delivery to the forefront.

Alongside the BMA and other medical membership organisations, we believe our fatigue campaign will prompt policy makers to take positive action to mitigate the impact of rota gaps on service provision and doctors’ workload and wellbeing. Since the launch of the Fight Fatigue campaign in 2018, numerous organisations and Scottish politicians have pledged their support. More information and resources can be found at:

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