Responding to Audit Scotland's Annual Review of NHS Scotland, Professor Derek Bell, Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties in Scotland, said:

"The Scottish Academy of Medical Royal Colleges recognises the significant pressures facing the NHS in Scotland and every other health service in the developed world. We welcome the collaborative approach adopted in Scotland, which is beginning to show positive results in unscheduled care. It is encouraging to see the Scottish Government applying similar approaches to other pressurised parts of the NHS.

"Our colleagues in Audit Scotland reported this week on some of Scotland's enduring challenges, namely in health inequalities, real integration between health and social care, and responding to rising demands within limited budgets.

"The way forward is clearly in the development of a cohesive strategic approach involving all professional groups, patients and carers, rather than a plethora of smaller scale projects and pilots. Critical to improvement is addressing the gaps in the workforce affecting many parts of Scotland and the Colleges have a key part to play here. The realistic medicine agenda marks a step change in approach and Scotland has a real opportunity to deliver improved public health and better healthcare for our population."

Contact: Lisa Rooke 0131 247 3688