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Consultant vacancies in Scotland increase by nearly a fifth in one year


8 June 2017

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The number of vacant consultant posts in Scotland has increased by nearly a fifth in a year, according to official figures from the digital division of NHS Scotland.

The number of vacant consultant posts in Scotland has increased by nearly a fifth in a year, according to official figures from the digital division of NHS Scotland.

The figures published by Information Services Division (ISD) Scotland show that the total number of vacant consultant posts have increased by 17.6% between March 2016 and March 2017.

There are now 416 whole time equivalent consultant posts vacant in Scotland, with 204 WTE posts vacant for more than six months, an increase of 38 since last year.

However, the Scottish Government defended the figures, highlighting the fact that NHS Scotland, as a whole, has seen their workforce numbers increase by 12,300 WTE under the current government.

Simon Barker, chair of the Scottish consultants committee, said the figures are ‘extremely disappointing’, adding that the Scottish government is ‘not facing up to the problems of medical recruitment and retention’.

He said: ‘With vacancies increasing and demand rising faster than resources, the Scottish Government’s consistent failure to value those consultants who are bearing the brunt of the gaps in the workforce, and failure to attract new consultants, will inevitably have a significant and negative impact on our ability to continue to deliver a high quality and sustainable health service.  

He added that despite repeated advertising, the posts are ‘not proving attractive to consultants’, which he said has caused ‘unrelenting pressure on those consultants currently working in the health service’. 

Scottish health secretary Shona Robison said: ‘Under this Government, NHS staff numbers have risen to record highs – with more consultants, nurses and midwives now delivering care for the people of Scotland.

She added: ‘These extra staff will ensure people all across Scotland get the high-quality NHS services that they rightly expect.’

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