Scotland faces 'unprecedented' decrease in NHS budget, GP leaders warn

Scotland faces an 'unprecedented' real terms reduction in its NHS budget which could impact on the range and quality of services provided, GP leaders have warned.

Dr Keighley said the risings costs of health inflation could jeopardise the range and quality of services the NHS currently provides.

The Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), released by the Scottish government this week, showed that an extra £826m will be allocated to the health revenue budget in Scotland over the next three years. 

Finance secretary John Swinney said this means health boards’ budgets for delivering frontline health services will be protected until 2014/15. 

‘This will allow us to drive forward continuous improvement in the quality of healthcare services in the interests of our economy and the health and wellbeing of communities across Scotland,’ he said.

But BMA Scotland has warned that the risings costs of health inflation means that the NHS actually faces an ‘unprecedented’ real terms reduction in its budget over the next three years.

BMA Scotland chairman Dr Brian Keighley said this could jeopardise the range and quality of services the NHS currently provides.

He said: ‘It is vital that the Scottish government and managers take a long-term view for the NHS and work with health professionals to identify how services can be made more efficient and where cuts should be made without compromising patient care.’

GPC Scotland chairman Dr Dean Marshall also warned that the CSR will increase pressure on GPs as more services are moved out of hospitals to save costs.

He said: ‘We will be doing more and more with less funding. Our main focus is trying to ensure that this does not impact on patient care, but clearly it is self evident that with less funding and more work something will have to give.’

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