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BMA warns of ‘attack’ on GPs in Scotland

Scottish GP leaders are warning of plunging morale among GPs as NHS budget cuts and pension reforms bring the profession to ‘breaking point’.

In a strongly-worded New Year’s message, BMA Scotland chair Dr Brian Keighley warned the ministers in Scotland that there is likely to be an exodus of doctors retiring early and that they had ‘not ruled out’ a ballot for strike action over pension reforms.

Dr Keighley added that looming cuts, pressures on boards to make further savings and stripping down the numbers of NHS staff has lead to the medical profession’s goodwill being pushed to the limit.

He said: ‘It is disappointing that over the course of the year, doctors have come under repeated attack on several fronts.’

‘Their contracts are being devalued and undermined by NHS employers and now politicians are attacking the NHS pension scheme. It would appear that our political leaders perceive these to be the solution to the country’s national deficit.

‘While this approach might deliver some savings in the short term, it will, in the longer term cause damage to patient care and the loss of doctors from the NHS as many may choose to retire early.’

‘The NHS is nothing without its staff and right now with pending budget cuts, pressure on boards to make further savings, and staff cuts on hospital wards, doctors have less time to spend with patients and their goodwill is being pushed to breaking point.

‘Next year will see us surveying our members on the proposals for reform of the NHS pension scheme, and we have not ruled out a ballot for industrial action. Politicians should be wary of underestimating the strength of feeling amongst all members of the NHS pension scheme and listen to our concerns.’