Tavish calls for junior doctor placements in Shetland and other rural areas

Figures released today by NHS Education Scotland show an increase in the number of would-be junior doctors selecting Scotland as their first preference for continuing their training.

Over 96% of medical training posts have been filled for the 2016/17 academic year. Shetland has faced a GP recruitment crisis over a number of years with a number of permanent posts unfilled. NHS Shetland’s spending on temporary doctors – locums – has risen and some Shetland practices have merged. More recently Dr Susan Bowie has been using social media to advertise for GP assistance for the Hillswick practice.

Commenting on the news, Tavish said:

“It’s encouraging to see more junior doctors wanting to come to Scotland. Shetland faces a GP staffing crisis so the Scottish Government needs to help island health boards where the need for medical professionals is at its greatest.

“There are many ways to address the current shortages but I want the Scottish Government to explore introducing a placement for junior doctors in rural areas once they have qualified. I raised this specific idea with Health Secretary Shona Robison in the last session and she said it was being looked at.

“We spend a great deal on training tomorrow’s doctors but many move into other areas of medicine rather than becoming GPs. Placements in rural areas will keep smaller GP practices viable as well as giving new GPs important experience as they begin their careers. That looks like win-win to me so we desperately need imagination and determination from the government to make a difference.”


Notes to editors: NHS Education Scotland’s data is available here

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