BMA Scotland chairman Dr Peter Bennie said: ‘It is time to deal with the big challenges facing the NHS in Scotland. Our population is growing and it is getting older. More people are living with chronic disease and often have complex care needs.
‘All of this means that there is rising demand for NHS services. However at the same time, the NHS budget is falling and we are in the midst of a recruitment crisis in the medical profession. Hard pressed NHS services in hospitals and communities are running on the goodwill of doctors and staff. This is not a sustainable solution for the NHS in Scotland. It is time to have an honest, public debate about the future of our NHS and how we can continue to deliver high quality care within financial constraints.
‘In the last few weeks of the referendum campaign, health dominated the debate and it is clear that both politicians and the public greatly value the NHS and agree with its founding principles: publicly funded, publicly delivered and available to all.
Scotland will avoid NHS marketisation
'With health being devolved we can continue to focus on co-operation across the health service in Scotland, rather than the approach being taken in England of competition and commercialisation.
‘Our politicians must refocus on the long term sustainability of our NHS.
‘Although the outcome of the referendum has been determined, the as yet undefined offers of further devolution of powers to Scotland may have a significant impact on our health service.’
RCGP chairwoman Dr Maureen Baker said: ‘Following the fervent and passionate debate that has taken place over the question of Scottish independence, the RCGP takes note of the decision of the Scottish electorate to stay in the UK, and will continue to ensure that all of its members in Scotland – and England, Wales and Northern Ireland – are given a strong voice on the key issues affecting the future of general practice, including the urgent need to increase funding for excellent patient care.’