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BMA Scotland wary of NHS waiting-time legislation

19 March 2010

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SNP plans to enshrine guaranteed waiting times and a right to complain in law could create a “litigious” NHS, doctors have warned.

The British Medical Association (BMA) said it was “not convinced” by the legislation, which aims to set a 12-week treatment limit.

Scottish Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon claimed the proposals would send a powerful message to people that they are at the heart of the NHS.

“It is absolutely right that patients know what they can expect from their health service and know what recourse they have if they do not get care and treatment delivered in the way they are entitled to,” she said.

But BMA officials claimed the plans risked creating an atmosphere of fear that could undermine the health service.

BMA Scotland chairman Dr Brian Keighley said: “There is concern that the focus on legislative rights could lead to a confrontational or litigious approach which could undermine the mutual nature of the NHS and hinder open, communicative relationships between patients and the NHS staff who treat them.”

Copyright © Press Association 2010

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