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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 June, 2004, 11:42 GMT 12:42 UK
Devolution is an 'NHS success'
The BMA official believes the future is bright for the NHS in Scotland
Devolution has made a positive difference to the National Health Service in Scotland, according to a senior medical figure.

Dr John Garner, chairman of the BMA's Scottish council, said he had noticed a positive change since the Scottish Executive took control of the NHS.

However, he called for strong political leadership to meet future challenges.

"There is much more to do," the outgoing chairman told the BMA's annual conference.

Dr Garner said: "Our health service is delivering for the people of Scotland and, although it won't happen overnight, I think we have a brighter future ahead.

"I believe devolution has worked."

'Better facilities'

But he added that there were still challenges ahead.

He said: "We have a unique opportunity north of the border to lead the way in legislating for smoke free public places?

"I urge our country's leaders not to falter and take decisive action to improve the public's health. It is their role to protect the public's health and one they must achieve.

"We need more doctors, more nurses and better facilities in which to treat our patients."

However, he expressed concern about a failure to convince the public about the need to downgrade some public services where this was necessary.

He said: "Politicians have to make their decision based on the safety of the care their constituents receive rather than diving into the media spotlight to save a Victorian building."

Dr Garner is set to stand down from his post later this month.

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