Scottish GPs react to party manifestos

Proposals by the Conservative Party to create a tariff-based system in Scotland could threaten some hospitals with closure, according to the BMA.

GPs and consultants have been commenting on the manifestos of the Conservatives and Green Party prior to next month’s Scottish Parliament election.

The Conservatives propose a tariff-based system to reduce patient waiting times.

Dr Charles Saunders, deputy chairman of the BMA’s Scottish Consultants Committee, said: ‘A tariff system would recreate an internal market in the NHS which would in turn, create winners and losers of our local hospitals. Hospitals that lose out on the provision of elective procedures and reduced workload could end up under threat of closure.’

He added that Scotland’s geography heightened concerns that rural units would be unable to compete with urban hospitals.

The Conservatives also plan to review NHS24 and replace it with local, clinician-led units.

Dr Dean Marshall, chairman of the BMA’s Scottish GPC, described the proposal as ‘interesting’, because it would need an increase in the GP workforce.

The BMA has welcomed the Green Party’s proposals to expand preventative medicine and community-based care, including long-term investment for sexual health services, and its plans to tackle smoking and drinking problems in Scotland.

However, the BMA criticised the Green Party’s opposition to fluoridation. Dr Peter Terry, chairman of the BMA in Scotland, said: ‘Scotland has one of the poorest records for dental health in the developed world.’

Other political parties expecting to contest Scottish Parliament seats will release manifestos this week.

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