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Our Election Manifesto

The events of the past year have placed a huge burden on our health service and all those who work in it. While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to generate enormous challenges, we are proud of the vital part our membership has played in providing excellent patient care.

Our Fellows and Members have shown leadership, flexibility and professionalism, ensuring that health services across Scotland and beyond were able to adapt at a breath-taking pace to meet the challenges of the pandemic.

We have seen that speed of decision making, innovative thinking and breaking through bureaucracy has served us well. The same approach will be needed to create the shape of our workforce going forward. We need to maintain its morale, resilience and to achieve adequate staffing levels.

Although the pandemic brought the best out of our NHS and its staff, it has also highlighted and exacerbated the ongoing challenges that we have faced over the past few years.

There are key issues that need to be addressed urgently which are outlined in our Holyrood Election Manifesto and below.


We need to address our workforce crisis by increasing the supply of medical professionals, and taking action to retain those who already work in the NHS. We need to learn from COVID-19.

We call on the next Scottish Government to:

  • Create 100 additional places in Scottish Medical Schools each year of this parliament.
  • Increase the number of medical school places for Scottish-domiciled students and those on graduate entry programme who are more likely to stay and work in Scotland after completing training.
  • Work with the UK Government to ensure that we can recruit additional staff from outside the UK.

Read our Manifesto


There is an urgent need to address workforce shortages in the NHS and to provide the existing workforce with adequate time to heal from the pandemic before we start to ramp up activity to start on bringing waiting lists down.

We call on the next Scottish Government to:

  • Maintain the additional support measures put in place for NHS staff to support their wellbeing throughout the COVID-pandemic, including, but not limited to the provision of rest centres and hot meals.
  • Improve the flexibility offered to NHS staff at all levels to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to work flexibly or less than full time.
  • Ensure that all staff contracts contain a healthy balance between direct clinical care and time required to teach, train junior doctors and undertake CPD.
  • Recognise that doctors in training have missed out on essential education and examinations during the pandemic and that they should not be disadvantaged unnecessarily.
  • Recognise that medical staff of all grades have worked outside their normal areas of expertise and ensure that they are not disadvantaged either in ther employment or legally.

Read our Manifesto


NHS leadership must be properly representative of the wider workforce and the wider population we serve.

We call on the next Scottish Government to:

  • Expand the existing Scottish Clinical Leadership Fellowship scheme from 10 to 15 places annually, and provide additional opportunities for clinicians in groups which are currently under-represented in leadership roles to take up places on the programme.
  • The new Scottish Government should build on this progress, and increase the support available to school students from areas of multiple deprivation and from non-traditional backgrounds to help them choose a career in medicine.
  • Additional funding must be made available to medical schools and other organisations in order to provide additional financial and pastoral support for these new medical school students

Read our Manifesto


The issues outlined above are not exclusive to Scotland and are also relevant to the other three nations which make up the United Kingdom.

At the same time, our membership in Scotland has reported that they are under more pressure than ever before, and this stress is taking its toll on their ability to carry out their jobs and their life outside work.

This is why we’ve put together this manifesto for the elections to the Scottish Parliament due to be held on 6 May 2021 and we urge the Scottish government to address these issues as a matter of urgency.


We want our voice to be heard, and there is great power in numbers, so please do speak out and do what you can to influence government action on the issues that directly affect our health workforce. You are welcome to download our social media graphics and share them on your own channels.

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