By BMA Scotland, [RxPG] Doctors will today call on the Scottish Executive to acknowledge the fundamental role of General Practice in NHS Scotland and to recognise that the role of the NHS extends far beyond the debate on waiting times in hospitals.
This call, which is part of a debate on Promoting General Practice, will open the Annual Conference of Scottish Local Medical Committees in Clydebank today (Thursday 28 April 2005).
Dr David Love, joint chairman of the BMAs Scottish General Practitioners Committee welcomed the debate. He said:
"Too often we hear negative stories about the NHS and general practice, but we must also learn to celebrate its successes. General Practice is fundamental to the NHS and I hope that in this debate can help us to focus on the positive contributions that GPs make to the success of our health service.
"We also have a responsibility to ensure that we are providing high quality services that patients need. As doctors we are in a position to identify where systems are failing and to offer solutions that will improve patient care. Politicians need to set targets because they have to be accountable, but they must also accept that in some cases decisions on priorities are fundamentally clinical. Targets and initiatives should only be a priority if they can make a significant difference to patients.
"The NHS is more than just hospital-based care, while general practice and hospitals cannot function without each other, there continues to be a narrow focus on hospital waiting times as a measure of performance of the NHS. This fails to recognise the invaluable work undertaken in general practice and in the wider primary care setting. With appropriate investment, GPs can deliver results. Improving chronic disease management and playing a key role in health promotion and disease prevention all contribute towards reducing hospital admissions and the need to refer patients to hospital."
More than 100 family doctors from across Scotland will gather at todays conference to discuss issues affecting the NHS and general practice. Motions attacking proposals to increase the retirement age to 65 will also top the agenda.
Dr Love added:
"The proposed changes to the public sector pension scheme could have a serious detrimental effect on the retention of doctors in the NHS in Scotland."
Doctors will also debate policy matters such as whether or not prescription charges will be abolished and will also call for greater involvement in community health partnerships.
BMA Scotland; Annual Conference of Scottish Local Medical Committees
On the web:www.bma.org.uk/scotland
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