THE NHS cannot survive in its current state amid hundreds of vacancies a senior doctor has warned.

The Chairman of the  British Medical Association in Scotland said there needs to be a serious conversation on the service’s future.

Dr Iain Kennedy said his NHS colleagues had told him over the past fortnight the "whole health and social care system in Scotland is broken".

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He warned recruitment targets for GPs was being missed and there are too many vacancies for medics in hospitals also.

He said: “There is no way that the NHS in Scotland can survive.

"In fact, many of my members are telling me that the NHS in Scotland has died already.

"It's already broken in some parts of the country. So the time is now, we need the national conversation now, it cannot be delayed any further."

Dr Kennedy was speaking t the BBC Good Morning Scotland programme when he said he would be meeting with the Health Secretary Humza Yousaf in the New Year.

The Dr said the target of recruiting  800 GPs by 2027 was “well off” and there were high hospital vacancies and termed it the worst he had seen in his 30-year career as a doctor.

He added there had been an "abject failure of workforce planning" and he said health staff were "exhausted, burnt-out and broken".

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He said: "Over the past two weeks I have received testimonies from nearly 200 doctors, and what they're telling me is that the whole health and social care system in Scotland is broken.

"They are telling me that NHS Scotland is failing their patients and failing the workforce, and they're suffering from moral injury from constantly having to apologise to their patients."

He said the number of vacancies in the health service was the worst he had seen in his 30-year career as a doctor.

Junior doctors in Scotland are preparing for industrial action as part of their demand for higher pay, and Dr Kennedy said their wages had "eroded by 23.5% since 2008".

He said: "They've had enough, they've told us that they've had enough, and they've been trying to get action from the Scottish Government but their requests are falling on deaf ears.”

Dr Kennedy said while junior doctors in England were taking part in a strike ballot in January, north of the border it would be in the spring.