Commenting on the publication of the Scottish Government's Action Plan for Health and Wellbeing, the BMA broadly welcomed the continued direction of travel as outlined in Better Health, Better Care and in previous NHS strategy documents.
BMA Scotland will reflect on the content of this report and consider the detail of the proposals. The BMA is disappointed however that detail is yet to be made available on key proposals such as elections to health boards and waiting time guarantees, policies that the BMA has raised significant concerns with during the consultation prior to this announcement.
Commenting specifically on the proposals for improved flexibility and access to general practice, Dr Dean Marshall, Chairman of the BMA's Scottish General Practitioners Committee, said:
"We are pleased that the Scottish Government has committed to work with the profession to develop robust evidence to support any proposals to extending access to primary care.
"BMA Scotland has always maintained that if evidence exists to demonstrate that extending opening hours would improve the care we deliver to our patients, then we would be happy to discuss this. As yet, we are not aware that this is the case and we are keen to ensure that any changes to the existing hours represent the best use of scarce resources and do not detract from our ability to deliver services to those with the greatest need.
"The consequences of the predicted rise in Scotland's population will place further pressure on health services and have major resource implications. There will need to be additional resources to meet this challenge and ensure access to primary care."