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New care models needed in Scotland, say royal colleges  

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An urgent change is needed in the way care is delivered in Scotland if the NHS is to be put on a “sustainable footing”, nursing and medical leaders have warned in a joint statement.

The Royal College of Nursing and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges have warned that difficult decisions need to be made now about how and where money is invested in health services.

“We know we cannot continue to deliver services the way we have done up to now”

Theresa Fyffe

It marks the first time that all the royal colleges in Scotland have spoken with a “single voice” and emphasises the urgent need for action, they said. 

Theresa Fyffe, director of RCN Scotland, said: “Tinkering around the edges and simply putting more and more money into the current system is not the answer.

“We know we cannot continue to deliver services the way we have done up to now,” she said.

“It is up to us, as professional leaders who share a collective aim and represent health professionals working on the frontline, to step forward and take a leading role in kick-starting the public debate that needs to take place about the future of our NHS,” she added.

Academy chair Mr Ian Ritchie, who is also president of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, said: “We’re seeing day in, day out, the immense pressure which the NHS is under, as patient demand and public expectations soar and funding is unable to keep up.”

“What we require, urgently, is to develop new models of care which are fit for the future”

Ian Ritchie

The joint statement is based on discussions at a meeting earlier this year, where there was unanimous agreement that the public, health professionals, the NHS and politicians needed to work together.

The colleges said they had agreed four key actions that were needed. These were a “genuine” public debate on change, a new “approach” to targets, new ways of delivering care and improved inter-professional working.

Mr Ritchie said the academy and the RCN had made a number of commitments to drive change forward in each of the areas.

“What we require, urgently, is to develop new models of care which are fit for the future,” he said. “And, given that it’s our members who will have to implement these new models of care, we are committed to working across our health service to make sure this happens.”

Theresa Fyffe

Theresa Fyffe

Meanwhile, Ms Fyffe called for a new approach to clinical targets. She said: “We know that targets can often skew clinical priorities and waste resources.

“There needs to be a new, evidence-based model for measuring success, focusing on better outcomes for patients and our health services” she said.

“Without change now, we’re putting at risk the sustainability of our NHS,” she added.

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