MOST doctors in Scotland believe targets and finances are prioritised over quality of care, a new survey suggests.

The British Medical Association (BMA) surveyed 999 doctors across Scotland and almost three-quarters (72%) said they think targets are given higher priority than the standard of care. More than two-thirds (68%) thought the same of finances.

Some 71% said overall patient services have worsened in the past year, with just 2% seeing improvement.

The vast majority (97%) believe NHS resources are inadequate and affect the quality of patients’ care, with 66% saying the impact is significant and 31% that it is slight.

BMA Scotland chairman Lewis Morrison said: “Our survey provides clear and worrying evidence that doctors in Scotland believe both national targets and finances are prioritised above the quality of patient care.

“This would indicate that the way our NHS is currently run is skewing priorities and not always putting the patient first.

“That simply cannot be right – everything our health services does should be about delivering the best care possible, and not simply meeting financial or waiting times targets, which often tell us little about the actual quality of care.”

He added: “It is clear from the results that there are simply not enough doctors to deliver the quality care we all strive to provide.”

The survey also highlighted concerns over workloads and bullying. A total of 91% said they are working for longer than their allotted hours and just under half (47%) fear being “unfairly blamed” for errors caused by pressures or systemic failures.

Meanwhile, 89% of doctors believe current staffing levels are not adequate to deliver quality patient care.

More than a third (38%) said bullying, undermining and harassment are issues where they work but more than half (53%) would feel confident reporting this behaviour. Around a quarter (26%) would not.

Morrison added that the survey shows bullying and harassment of doctors is “far too prevalent” and

argued urgent steps need to be taken to promote a more positive culture.

Scottish Conservative health spokesman Miles Briggs said: “While finances and targets are of course extremely important, nothing should come before the welfare of patients.

“That’s what the NHS is meant to be about and it’s alarming to read this damning verdict from doctors.”

Labour’s Monica Lennon said: “This is an utterly damning assessment of the condition of our health service from Scotland’s doctors.

Scottish LibDem health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “This is an explosive report that ought to trigger some real soul-searching by the SNP.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Since 2007 we have ensured that NHS funding has not only been protected, but has increased to record high levels.”

The survey of BMA members was carried out from May 3 to June 4 and results published this week.