The British Medical Association will today (Thursday 3 June 2004) publish an A to Z of Doctors Making a Difference. This UK-wide report illustrates how doctors are leading developments to increase patient care, improve access to services and enhance the patient experience.
The publication includes examples of how Scottish doctors and their teams are working together to go the extra mile for their patients.
Dr John Garner, chairman of the BMA Scottish Council said: "This report highlights the commitment and dedication doctors have towards their patients and the NHS in Scotland. Within this report we see examples from doctors of all grades ? consultants, GPs, staff and associate specialists and doctors in training - working in close collaboration with nurses, health advisers, receptionists and other healthcare staff to provide a better service. Sometimes even the smallest change can make all the difference to patients.
"It is widely accepted that the NHS works within the constraints of scarce resources and often services can be restricted by lack of funding. However, the majority of Scottish projects highlighted here have been supported by NHS boards, either by the provision of funding or the employment of additional staff. By working together, we can make a difference.
"Healthcare professionals work hard to ensure high quality care for their patients. What goes unseen by many is the extra time and effort put into caring for patients. This publication provides a snapshot of the total dedication surrounding what is much more than just a job ? it is a true vocation."
Some examples include:
M: Men's Health - A surgery in Shetland provided an incentive for men in need of health screening by offering free tickets to a special dinner. This resulted in coronary heart disease risk scores becoming the hot topic of conversation in the local pub
C: Cardiology - A project in Edinburgh reminds patients of the effectiveness of high blood pressure and high cholesterol treatment by using graphics to show their future risk if medication is not continued.
S: Sexual Health - The Sandyford Initiative in Glasgow helps sexual health advisors work closely with GP practices providing support, advice and education regarding the management of chlamydia and other sexually transmitted infections.
T: Telemedicine - Doctors in Aberdeen are taking advantage of telecommunication developments to help save lives of patients in the North East of Scotland.
Zzzz: Sleep Clinic - A sleep clinic in Edinburgh helps Scots throughout the country have a better night's sleep without having to spend the night in a hospital.
The Scottish case studies highlight a handful of the many initiatives in hospitals and local surgeries which benefit patients the length and breadth of the country including Aberdeen, Stirling, Dumfries, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Unst (the most northerly practice in the NHS).
Malcolm Chisholm, Minister for Health and Community Care said: "I very much welcome this guide. It is a true testimony to the enormous amount of excellent innovative work being done by doctors in general practice, community and hospital settings.
"I am privileged to see this on visits around Scotland and I know how much the contribution of doctors, working with their fellow health professionals and with the support of good management, is valued by the people they serve. What this guide shows is that bright ideas are being turned into best practice around the country for the benefit of those who matter most ? patients."
Professor Graham Teasdale, President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow said: "Doctors are now under more pressure than ever. It is immensely reassuring to see from this report that this has not, in Scotland, dulled their inventiveness nor worn out their altruism. Through approaches ranging from high to low tech and by harnessing the talents and teamwork of other health professionals, a range of developments have been achieved that are centred on and around patients and offer them enhanced care and empowered choice. The report is an impressive catalogue of ways that individuals have made a difference."