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'Invest more in consultants' urges BMA Scotland

More consultants needed to off-set impact of European Directive

OnMedica Staff

Thursday, 04 June 2009

BMA Scotland is urging the NHS to plan and invest more in its consultant workforce in order to deliver the best care for patients.

The call comes as BMA Scotland published a report, Consultants in NHS Scotland: at the heart of patient care, which highlights the significant contribution made by consultants to the NHS in Scotland.

Dr Charles Saunders, chairman of the BMA’s Scottish Consultants Committee, said: “Doctors believe that patients deserve an NHS which delivers safe, cost-effective care led by highly trained consultants.

“We expect future public sector spending to reduce in real terms so it is important to get the best value out of the NHS without compromising patient care. Managers will benefit from encouraging and facilitating consultants to use their experience, practical knowledge and understanding of their patients to innovate and develop services within the NHS. This is the most efficient way to get best value from our NHS.

“Consultants represent incredible value for money. By investing in a consultant delivered service, NHS boards will benefit from a reduction in unnecessary investigations, unnecessary follow-up appointments and diminished admission rates.”

The report includes 17 case studies from NHS consultants working around Scotland.

Dr Saunders continued: “Thousands of hardworking and committed consultants make a real difference to patients every day of every year. This report demonstrates the wide ranging tasks and roles undertaken by consultants, highlights the various skills needed to be a consultant and shows why their leadership in clinical care is essential for the NHS in Scotland.”

The report also highlights concerns about the implications of the 48 hour European Working Time Directive which comes into place in August this year, stating that a continued expansion of consultants will be needed to fill the service gap left by fewer numbers of medical trainees.

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