‘Finances prioritised over patient care!’ – BMA reviews Scottish NHS


A SUBSTANTIAL majority of doctors in Scotland feel that patient care is being given a lower priority in Scotland’s NHS than both finances and national targets, a major BMA survey has found.

In all, 72 per cent of the doctors surveyed (999 in total) believe targets are prioritised over quality of care, while 68 per cent feel the same about finances. The full results of the survey, conducted over the summer and published for the first time yesterday (28th), reflect the ‘deep concerns our members repeatedly express’ according to BMA Scotland chair Lewis Morrison.

Further key results show:

• 91 per cent of doctors are working over their allotted hours;

• Nearly four in 10 (38 per cent) say bullying and harassment are an issue in their workplace, and a quarter of doctors would not feel confident in reporting such behaviour;

• The overwhelming majority of doctors (93 per cent) are often or sometimes fearful of making a medical error, and nearly half (48 per cent) say that fear is getting worse.

The report also highlights concerns over excessive workload pressures making it difficult to retain staff and a belief that staffing levels have deteriorated in the last year.

Dr Morrison said: ‘Our survey provides clear and worrying evidence that doctors in Scotland believe both national targets and finances are prioritised above the quality of patient care. ‘This would indicate that the way our NHS is currently run is skewing priorities and not always putting the patient first.

‘That simply cannot be right – everything our health services do should be about delivering the best care possible, and not simply meeting financial or waiting times targets, which often tell us little about the actual quality of care. ‘Indeed, the evidence from this survey simply reinforces the deep concerns that our members repeatedly express. It is clear from the results that there are simply not enough doctors to deliver the quality care we all strive to provide.

‘Doctors are fearful of making mistakes and then being blamed for them – despite being overworked and in a system under too much pressure.

‘It is also clear from this survey that bullying and harassment of doctors continue to be far too prevalent.’